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Lifetime Learning Tax Credit

There are Two Types of Credits You Can Claim for Post-High School Expenses;

  1.  The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
  2.  The American Opportunity Tax Credit


The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit

You may be eligible for the credit if you meet one or more of the criteria listed below:

  • If you paid qualified tuition and college expenses for the higher education.
  • If you paid college tuition for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent you claim on your tax return as an exemption.
  • If you paid qualified tuition and college expenses in the tax year for an academic period beginning in that year or in the first 3 months of the following year.
  • If you are enrolled in one or more classes at a qualified educational institution to improve job skills or to gain job skills.

Lifetime Learning College Tuition Tax CreditYou can claim your Lifetime Learning Tax Credit with tax software such as, TurboTax. The tools we have today quickly and easily determine if we are eligible to claim the college tax credits that are available.

The Lifetime Learning credit is worth up to $2,000 per family for post secondary education
(a 20% credit for up to $10,000 in tuition and related expenses)

The Lifetime Learning Credit Cannot Be Claimed If;

  • If your tax return filing status is Married Filing Separately.
  • If another person can has claimed you as a tax exemption on their tax return.
  • If your modified adjusted gross income is above the eligible limits.
  • If you or your spouse were a nonresident alien for any part of the tax year and the nonresident alien chose to not be a resident for tax purposes.
  • If you claim another education credit for the same student in the same year.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit

(an expanded and renamed version of the Hope scholarship credit)
The American Opportunity credit is worth up to $2,500 per student for the first four years of college (a 100% credit for the first $2,000 in tuition and related expenses, and a 25% credit for the second $2,000.

You cannot claim both the American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning tax credits in the same year on the same student. Learn more about the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

You may be able to claim an education credit if you, your spouse, or a dependent you claim on your tax return was a student enrolled at or attending an eligible educational institution. The credits are based on the amount of qualified education expenses paid for the student for academic periods beginning in 2011 and in the first 3 months of 2012.

Can You Claim More Than One Education Credit This Year?

For each student, you can choose for any year only one of the credits. For example, If you choose to take the American Opportunity credit for a child on your  tax return, you cannot, for that same child, also claim the Lifetime Learning credit.

If you are eligible to claim the American Opportunity credit and you are also eligible to claim the Lifetime Learning credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both.

College Tax Credits

There are a lot of facts and figures around the college tax credits. Higher education tax credits have rules about eligibility, dollar amounts, qualifying expenses, tax return filing status, exemptions claimed, and many, many more levels of criteria.

Tax software can take your information through your interview and make sure your eligibility elements are valid to claim your tax credits. As with any form you answer yes or no, and from there you are led down the path that is right for you. Claiming your college tax credits is valuable resource and is worth your time.