Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Back-to-School Tax Credits

Posted by William Byrnes on September 15, 2014


IRS logoThe IRS revealed in its Summertime Tax Tip 2014-23 that some of the costs a taxpayer pays for higher education can lead to a taxpayer owing less tax.  Here are several important tax facts about “education tax credits” from the IRS:

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit.  The AOTC can be up to $2,500 annually for an eligible student. This credit applies for the first four years of higher education. Forty percent of the AOTC is refundable. That means a taxpayer may be able to get up to $1,000 of the credit as a refund payment from the IRS, even if no tax is owed.
  • Lifetime Learning Credit.  With the LLC, a taxpayer may be able to claim a tax credit of up to $2,000 on the federal tax return. There is no limit on the number of years the LLC can be claimed for an eligible student.
  • One credit per student.  A taxpayer may claim only one type of education credit per student on the federal tax return each year. If more than one student qualifies for a credit in the same year, then the taxpayer can claim a different credit for each student.
  • Qualified expenses.  A taxpayer may include qualified expenses to calculate the credit.  This may include amounts paid for tuition, fees and other related expenses for an eligible student.
  • Eligible educational institutions.  Eligible schools are those that offer education beyond high school. This includes most colleges and universities. Vocational schools or other postsecondary schools may also qualify.
  • Form 1098-T.  In most cases, a taxpayer will receive Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from the school.  This form reports the qualified expenses to the IRS and to the taxpayer. A taxpayer may notice that the amount shown on the form is different than the amount actually paid.  Some of the paid costs may not appear on Form 1098-T.  For example, the cost of textbooks may not appear on the form, but these textbook costs still may be able to be claimed as part of the credit.
  • Nonresident alien.  A F-1 student visa usually files a federal tax return as a nonresident alien.  A nonresident alien may not claim an education tax credit for any part of the tax year unless electing to be treated as a resident alien for federal tax purposes.
  • Income limits. These credits are subject to income limitations and may be reduced or eliminated, based on the taxpayer’s income.

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2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This book provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

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