Lifetime Learning Credit at a Glance

Lifetime Learning Credit at a Glance

Due to the rising cost of further education, there are taxpayers who wish that it is possible to offset their school expenses. There is also the option to get the LLC on the federal income tax return. This credit can reduce the tax bill on the dollar-for-dollar basis is the portion of the fees and tuition that the individual pays for themselves.

Lifetime Learning Credit is the qualified tuition as well as related expenses that have been paid for the benefit of eligible students who are enrolled in an educational institution that is deemed eligible. This credit assists students in paying for professional degree courses along with graduate and undergraduate programs. These courses once acquired can improve the job skills of the individual. It is important to take note that there is no limit on the duration of the study and claiming the credit. It amounts to $2,000 for every tax return.

The LLC is provided and made available to tax payers. This credit can be claimed by any student or a family who pays taxes, as long as the student is attending classes at least on a part time basis. The credit is then claimed for the educational costs that have been incurred by the student.

Critics often complained that there are restrictions and complexity when it comes to the eligibility and qualifications. It makes the actual benefits for every student pursuing their post-secondary studies much lower than what is regarded as the theoretical maximum. Even with higher education and tax credits, there is still a remainder of tax-disadvantaged individuals compared to those who turn to these investments.

Who claims the LLC?

 In order to claim LLC, there are three requirements:

The dependent is willing to pay for the qualified education expenses toward higher learning.

  1. The dependent can pay the education expenses for a student who is eligible and is enrolled at an educational institution that is also qualified.
  2. The dependent is listed on a tax return.

 Who are the eligible students for the Lifetime Learning Credit?

 In order for the student to qualify for the LLC, he or she must:

  • Be listed, signed up on enrolled in taking courses at an educational institution that is deemed eligible.
  • Taking higher education classes or courses in order to get a degree or an education that is recognized in order for the individual to learn more and also improve the skills required for the job.
  • Be enrolled for one academic period at least and in the commencement of the current tax year.

Take note that academic period means semesters, quarters or trimesters, depending on the school session of the eligible educational institution. The school determines how the academic periods would be. Schools that resort to credit hours and not academic terms, the payment process is treated as if it were an academic period.

Calculating Lifetime Learning Credit

 The individual can include the fees, tuition and any supplies or books that are a requirement in purchasing directly from the educational institution. This also depends if this is an enrollment or a condition. If the professor suggests and recommends that they purchase textbooks and can enroll in the class even without this, this is not included in the credit.

Filling Out Form 8863

 By the end of the tax year, educational institutions must send them Form 1098-T that also includes the eligible costs. In order for individuals to claim this Lifetime Learning Credit, then these figures must be entered on Form 8863. When this form is prepared, the individual must only complete parts 3 along with parts 6 and then calculate this credit amount that they are eligible for. By transferring this credit amount to the income tax return then make sure that this is attached to Form 8863 before this is sent to the IRS.

TurboTax prepares the calculation for individuals to make filling up the form easier. By answering simple questions regarding the individual’s education expenses, the form can be completed in no time.

No Double Benefits Allowed

 It is not possible for the taxpayer to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit as well as a tuition deduction when he or she has already claimed the American Opportunity credit. The IRS only lets tax reduction for every student every year. However, before the individual can claim the LLC, they should also determine whether they are qualified and eligible enough for the American Opportunity Credit.

For a number of students who are taking four years of further studies, the American Opportunity credit offers more tax savings because the minimum credit that they can get is $2,500. TurboTax is also another tool that can be used to calculate this. It can also determine which credit would give the individual the biggest benefit.

What are the Income Limits for LLC?

 In order to claim the complete credit, the modified adjusted gross income or the MAGI must also be around $65,000 or the below. It can also be $131,000 or less if the individual is married and is also filing jointly.

  • If the MAGI ranges between $55,000 and $65,000. This is between $111,000 but also below $131,000 for couples who are married and filing jointly).
  • If the MAGI is beyond $65,000, the individual is not eligible for Lifetime Learning Credit.

The Modified Adjust Gross Income is the amount of the Adjusted Gross Income that appears on the tax return. This is located on Form 1040A which is the AGI on line 22. This is similar to MAGI. IF the individual files the Form 1040, then the AGI can be found on line 38. It also includes the following:

  • Foreign housing exclusion
  • Income that is excluded from the official residents from Puerto Rico or American Samoa
  • Foreign earned income that is excluded
  • Foreign housing deduction

If the adjusted gross income must be adjusted further in order to locate the MAGI, there are worksheets that can assist the individual to do so.

How to Claim Lifetime Learning Credit

 Usually, students receive the Tuition Statement or what is called Form 1098-T by January 31. This very statement helps in figuring out how much the student gets credit from LLC. The form then has the amount listed on either Box 1 or Box 2 to show that the amounts have been billed or received for the duration of that tax year. However, this amount cannot be the very amount that the individual has access to or can claim.

How Much Is Lifetime Learning Credit Worth?

 The usual amount of the LLC is 20% of $10,000 that is first earned is directed to the qualified education costs. It can also be the maximum of every $2,000 for each return. Take note that Lifetime Learning Credit cannot be refunded. Individuals can also turn to the credit to use this as a form of tax payment that they owe. However, they cannot receive the credit as a form of refund.

Qualifying Expenses

 The qualified tuition as well as the related expenses is also defined as the fees and tuitions that have been paid by the individual at most universities and colleges for the enrollment and attendance of the taxpayer. These expenses that qualify do not include athletic fees, room and board expenses, insurance costs and student activity fees.

Limitations

 The LLC has limitations. A taxpayer cannot have both the Lifetime Learning Credit and the Hope Credit for one student in a given year. The credit is also subject to limitations that have been designed and reserved in order to benefit the low to moderate income taxpayers. The credit is also gradually phased out when the taxpayer’s MAGI or modified adjusted gross income goes beyond $55,000. Those numbers also exceed $65,000. These numbers are also increased for those who file and amount between $110,000 and $130,000.

Tax Credits and Tax Deductions

 As a form of quick refresher, tax credits have a tendency to gain more benefit than deductions because it also reduces that tax liability on a dollar to dollar basis. Deductions, as opposed to tax credits, can reduce the amount of the individual’s income that is subjected to taxes.

Here is a situation. If the individual is eligible for $2,000 tax, then there is a deduction to a $2,000 from what the individual owes the IRS. This then saves the individual $2,000. If the student gets a deduction, he or she can also get an exempt in the amount from the income that is generated in the taxes. If the tax rate is effective at 25%, then the deduction can also translate to $500 as a form of tax savings. It is also possible for the individual to claim the deductions and the credits as long as they are eligible. The more rack up, then the less tax that they can pay.

 

Breaking Down the Lifetime Learning Credit

 

The IRS also provides tax breaks for students. An example is the Lifetime Learning Credit. If the individual claims this, then he or she can get it to $2,000 that is on the taxes for that year. Specifically, credits are calculated to 20%. This is from the first $10,000 that they incur in related expenses along with the qualified tuition. These related expenses incur supplies, books, equipment for studies and mandatory student fees.

 

Make the Most out of the Lifetime Learning Credit

 Any taxpayer who has already paid for the educational expenses for the duration of the year can get a breakthrough the LLC. There may be some strict guidelines as well as rules on how to go about it, but the individual can definitely explore this in order to get the best deal out of his money. It also means that it is possible to reduce the amount that is owed on taxes and even amount to $2,000 in the process.

We recommend consulting with a professional to check all the options and then choose the best that fits the situation of the taxpayer. These offerings from the government definitely cushion the blow of all the tuition costs and can also assist in paying the individual for their education or that of their child’s.

Lifetime Learning Credit Facts

Remember that when calculating the amount of the Lifetime Learning Credit, grants, employer reimbursements and scholarships are deducted from the amount, and then whatever is left is calculated. This is done in order for the IRS to know how much to give to the individual.

Paying for 2 or More Post Secondary Students

 The LLC has a strict rule of one for every household tax credit. If the individual pays for more than a single student who is attending post-secondary education, then the maximum amount for this calculation remains at $10,000 despite the total cost. If the taxpayer is paying for the education of the dependent, then he or she cannot claim the expenses under that particular tax credit.

Income Phaseouts

 The LLC sometimes go through what is regarded as the phase-out range. This means that the taxpayer has a MAGI or what is known as the Modified Adjusted Gross Income. The IRS tool can also confirm the eligibility of this amount. If it is minimum or in excess of the phase out amount, then the taxpayer cannot claim the tax credit.

Forms Needed to File for Tax Credit

 In order to claim the tax credit, the individual must have a Form 1098-T. This shows the amount that is billed and also received for the tuition. This is the form that must be filled out in order for the individual to claim the credit and then also attach the tax forms that the individual files.

Other educational tax credits to consider

 If the individual is not eligible to claim Lifetime Learning Credit on taxes, he or she can still check if she is eligible for the other educational tax credits such as Fees Deduction and American Opportunity Credit. The individual must do as much research as possible in order to lessen the fee that they would have to shoulder and take out of their own pockets. As long as they are eligible for that scholarship, grant or loan, they should go for it.

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