Education Tax Credit And How You Can Claim It

June 29, 2022

What Is Education Tax Credit?

Taxpayers who pay eligible higher education expenditures for a qualified student to an authorized educational institution, such as a college or university, are liable for education tax credits. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit are two types of education tax credits.

How Does It Work?

Those who incur eligible education costs, such as tuition costs, are eligible for education tax credits. Parents paying these costs for their children may be eligible for a tax credit, subject to certain income limits. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit are two forms of education tax credits. With certain exceptions, the AOTC covers the first four years of tertiary education.  The Lifetime Learning Credit is available to all undergraduate and graduate students. In the same tax year, you cannot claim both the AOTC and the Lifetime Learning Credit for the same student.

American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

Students who have not finished their first four years of higher education are eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). They must have gone four years without claiming the AOTC or the previous Hope credit. During the tax year, the student should be registered at least half-time for one academic quarter, as decided by the institution. Furthermore, they may have not been charged with a criminal drug offence as of the conclusion of the tax year.

Who can claim it: Undergraduate college students and their parents are eligible for the American opportunity credit. For a maximum of four years, you can take the credit on your taxes. If your parents paid for your college expenditures and you’re listed as reliant on their return, they’ll be eligible for the credit.

If your modified adjusted gross income, or MAGI, was $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less if you file jointly with a spouse), you are eligible for the full education tax credit. Your credit will be lowered if your MAGI was between $80,000 and $90,000 ($160,000 and $180,000 for joint filers). You cannot claim this credit if you earn more than that.

Lifetime Learning Credit | Tax Credits For Education

Because it is intended for taxpayers of all educational levels, the Lifetime Learning Credit has greater eligibility restrictions than the AOTC. The Lifetime Learning Credit can be applied to a variety of schools, including vocational training and professional degree programmes, as well as tuition at four-year undergraduate and graduate schools.

A student must be registered in a course to earn educational expenses or improve job skills at an eligible academic institution for at least one academic period, as decided by the school, to be eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit. If the educational institution is an eligible school as defined by the IRS, the student will receive a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement.

Who can claim it: Undergraduates and their parents are not the only ones who can benefit from the lifetime learning credit. The credit is available to graduate, undergraduate, non-degree, & vocational students, and there is no limit on how many years you can use it. It’s therefore ideal for graduate students or anyone learning new skills in a classroom setting, even if you’ve already claimed the American opportunity tax credit on your taxes. In the same year, you can’t claim both the American opportunity credit and the lifetime learning credit.

What Are The Major Differences Between The AOTC And The Lifetime Learning Credit?

  • The AOTC is limited to $2,500, whereas the Lifetime Learning Credit is limited to $2,000 in total. For the same student, both credits cannot be claimed in the same tax year.
  • The AOTC is limited to undergraduate fees, whereas the Lifetime Learning Credit is more versatile. The AOTC can only be claimed once every four years, however, the Lifetime Learning Credit can be claimed indefinitely.
  • The AOTC requires that a student be registered at least half-time for an academic period, but the Lifetime Learning Credit is offered to students who are engaged in at least one course for that period.
  • The AOTC is not available to students who have been convicted of a felony drug offence. The Lifetime Learning Credit does not require this.

Education Tax Forms In Educational Tax Credits

Your college will send you Form 1098-T, a student fees statement, in January, detailing the education expenses you paid during the previous year. To claim an education tax credit or deduction, you’ll use that form to enter the corresponding amounts on your tax return.

You may be allowed to deduct student loan interest from your taxable income if you or your parents also have student loans. Your servicer will immediately issue you Form 1098-E if you paid more than $600 in interest. If you paid less than $600, you can still deduct interest, but you’ll need to ask your servicer for the paperwork. Up to $5,250 may not be taxable income if your organisation contributed funds for educational aid, such as tuition reimbursement or employer student loan repayment. 

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AaliyaWitten by Aaliya A piquant and humorous writer with the love to scrawl and create. For me writing is supreme. To believe that I can give words to my thoughts and connect to people through it is extraordinary.
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