You have a laptop, class schedule and course syllabus. You’re ready to start school, right? Well, almost.
The beginning of school is a good time to learn about the tax benefits that can help you offset qualifying education costs. If you’re paying education costs for yourself, a spouse or a dependent, you may be eligible to save some money with education tax credits.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) is:
• Worth a maximum benefit up to $2,500 per eligible student.
• Only for the first four years at an eligible educational or vocational school.
• For students pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential.
• Partially refundable. People can potentially get up to $1,000 back.
The Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) is:
• Worth up to $2,000 per tax return, per year, no matter how many students qualify.
• Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills.
• Available for an unlimited number of tax years.
To claim the AOTC or LLC, use Form 8863, Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits). Additionally, if you claim the AOTC, the law requires you to include the school’s Employer Identification Number on this form. Here are a few more facts to add to your notes:
• You’re required to have Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, to be eligible for an education benefit. You receive this form from the school you attended. There are exceptions for some students.
• You may use only qualified expenses paid to figure a tax credit. These include tuition and fees and other related expenses for an eligible student.
• Eligible educational schools are those that offer education beyond high school. This includes most colleges and universities.
• You may only claim qualifying expenses in the year paid.
• You can’t claim either credit if someone else claims you as a dependent.
• You may need to reduce the amount of your credit based on the amount of income you receive.
• You can’t claim both the AOTC and LLC for the same student or for the same expense in the same year.
• The Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov can help you check for eligibility.
• See IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, for details, rules, examples and a complete explanation of all the benefits.
To ensure we don't make the folks at the IRS ornery, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.
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