Am I Eligible to Claim an Education Credit?
This interview will help you determine if you’re eligible for certain educational credits or deductions including the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the Tuition and Fees Deduction.
There’s an additional requirement for a taxpayer identification number (SSN or ITIN) to be valid for claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015” requires you and the qualifying person to have an SSN (or ITIN) assigned on or before the due date of the return or on or before the extended due date if an extension is timely filed. For new ITIN applications, the IRS will consider the ITIN as issued on or before the due date of a return if the IRS receives the Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, on or before the due date of the return and an ITIN is issued as a result of the application.
Information You’ll Need:
- Filing status
- Student’s enrollment status
- Your adjusted gross income
- Who paid the expenses, when the expenses were paid, and for what academic period
- If any expenses were paid with tax-exempt funds
- If any expenses were paid with distributions from a Coverdell Education Savings Account or Qualified Tuition Program
For tax year 2016 and subsequent, the student must receive a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from an eligible educational institution to claim the tuition and fees deduction, American opportunity credit, or the lifetime learning credit. But, for 2016, an eligible educational institution is not required to provide the Form 1098-T to you in certain circumstances, for example:
- Nonresident alien students, unless the student requests the institution to file Form 1098-T,
- Students whose tuition and related expenses are entirely waived or paid entirely with scholarships or grants, or
- Students for whom the institution does not maintain a separate financial account and whose qualified tuition and related expenses are covered by a formal billing arrangement with the student’s employer or a government agency, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense.
You can still claim the AOTC if you did not receive a Form 1098-T because the school is not required to provide you a Form 1098-T for tax year 2016 if:
- The student and/or the person able to claim the student as a dependent meets all other eligibility requirements to claim the credit,
- The student can show he or she was enrolled at an eligible educational institution, and
- You can substantiate the payment of qualified tuition and related expenses.
Be sure to keep records that show the student was enrolled and the amount of paid qualified tuition and related expenses. You may need to send copies if the IRS contacts you regarding your claim of the credit.
The tool is designed for taxpayers that were U.S. citizens or resident aliens for the entire tax year for which they’re inquiring. If married, the spouse must also have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire tax year. For information regarding nonresidents or dual-status aliens, please see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
Conclusions are based on information provided by you in response to the questions you answered. Answers do not constitute written advice in response to a specific written request of the taxpayer within the meaning of section 6404(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Estimated Completion Time: 10 minutes
Please Note: After 15 minutes of inactivity, you’ll be forced to start over.
Caution: Using the “Back” button within the ITA tool could cause an application error.