Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
Georgian Court University has compiled the information below to answer some commonly asked questions about the American Opportunity (Hope) Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. The university cannot dispense tax advice nor is it in a position to provide assistance with tax preparation. Please direct all such inquiries to your tax advisor. Refer to IRS Publication 970 "Tax Benefits for Higher Education" for complete information. Call 1.800.TAX.FORM to obtain a copy.
Items Pertaining to the American Opportunity (Hope) Credit & Lifetime Learning Credit: The tax credits directly reduce the amount of federal income tax for returns filed in 2000 or later.
For 2009 returns, the credits are based on qualified tuition and related expenses paid during calendar year 2009 that relate to an academic period beginning after the designated dates. No amounts paid in 2010 may be used in calculating higher education credits for your 2009 tax return. However, advance payments made in 2009 for an academic period beginning in January, February, or March 2010 can be used in figuring your 2009 credit.
- Qualified tuition and related expenses are tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance.
The following are not included:*
- Room and board
- Student activities fees
- Athletic fees
- Student health fees (cost of insurance, medical expenses)
- Transportation or living expenses
- Other similar personal, living, or family expenses
*Even if the fees must be paid to the institution as a condition for enrollment
Complete IRS Form 8863 to figure the amount of your education credits.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Pell Grants
- Employer-provided educational assistance
- Veterans’ educational assistance
- Other nontaxable payments (other than gifts, bequests, or inheritance)
Qualified expenses paid with student’s earnings, loans, gifts, personal savings, or inheritance can be claimed.
American Opportunity (Hope) Credit
The American Opportunity (Hope) Credit is now available for the first four years a student is enrolled in post-secondary education and are carrying at least a half-time workload while pursuing an undergraduate degree, certificate, or other recognized credential.
The credit is available to eligible taxpayers on a per-student basis if you have qualified expenses paid in 2009 as a student enrolled at or attending an eligible educational institution. You cannot claim credits if your filing status is married and filing separately or you are claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return (such as your parents return). The full amount of the American Opportunity Credit is available to married taxpayers filing jointly with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $180,000 or less and to single taxpayers with an AGI of $90,000 or less.
The amount that may be claimed as a credit is generally equal to:
- 100 percent of the first $2,000 of the taxpayer's out-of-pocket expenses for each student's qualified tuition and related expenses: plus
- 25 percent of the next $2,000 of the taxpayer's out-of-pocket expenses for each student's qualified tuition and related expenses. Thus, the maximum credit a taxpayer may claim for a taxable year is $2,500 multiplied by the number of students who meet the eligibility requirements described above.
Qualified tuition and related expenses have been expanded to now include course materials (books, supplies, equipment). Also, new for 2009, up to 40% of the American Opportunity (Hope) Credit is now refundable. That means that even if you owe no taxes, you may still qualify to have a portion of the American Opportunity (Hope) Credit.
If the taxpayer is claiming a Lifetime Learning Credit for a particular student, none of that student's expense for that year may be applied toward the American Opportunity (Hope) Credit.
This tax credit is for expenses paid after June 30, 1998, for academic periods beginning after that date. The taxpayer must claim the eligible student as a dependent unless the credit is for the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse. You may be able to claim a Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000. The amount is 20% of the first $10,000 you pay for qualified tuition and related expenses for all students in the family. This credit may be claimed for an unlimited number of years.
You are eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit if you have qualified expenses paid in 2009 as a student enrolled at or attending an eligible educational institution. The full amount of the Lifetime Learning Credit is available to married taxpayers filing jointly with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $120,000 or less and to single taxpayers with an AGI of $60,000 or less. You cannot claim credits if your filing status is married and filing separately or you are claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return (such as your parents return). Taxpayers cannot use both the American Opportunity (Hope) Credit and Lifetime Learning Credits for the same student in a single year.
The student must be enrolled at an eligible educational institution.credit is not limited to students in the Expenses for graduate-level degree work are eligible and the student does not need to meet the half-time time requirement. Students taking one or two courses at the undergraduate or graduate level can take advantage of the Lifetime Learning Credit.
Other sources for information on related topics:
You can e-mail us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you did not receive a 1098-T and feel you should have, please e-mail us or call 732.987.2279. Leave your name, student ID number, and a brief message including 'no 1098-T received'. If you e-mail us, do not include your social security number as a precaution. Students will be charged a nominal fee for reprints.
Assisting our students is of the highest priority. The information and links referenced above were gathered and provided to help our students. Although we have taken this additional step, please note that Georgian Court University is not in a position to dispense tax advice, assist with tax preparation, or determine your eligibility. Please direct all such inquiries to your tax advisor.