Tuition and Fees Deduction – A whole lot of nothing!

Tuition and Fees Deduction

Who Can’t Claim the Deduction?

You can’t claim the tuition and fees deduction if any of the following apply.

  • Your filing status is married filing separately.
  • Another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. You can’t take the deduction even if the other person doesn’t actually claim that exemption.
  • Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is more than $80,000 ($160,000 if filing a joint return).
  • You (or your spouse) were a nonresident alien for any part of 2015 and the nonresident alien didn’t elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Pub. 519.

American Opportunity Credit for 2015

Maximum credit Up to $2,500 credit per eligible student
Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) $180,000 if married filing jointly; $90,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
Refundable or nonrefundable 40% of credit may be refundable; the rest is nonrefundable
Number of years of postsecondary education Available ONLY if the student had not completed the first 4 years of postsecondary education before 2015 (generally, the freshman through senior years, determined by the eligible educational institution, not including academic credit awarded solely because of the student’s performance on proficiency examinations)
Number of tax years credit available Available ONLY for 4 tax years per eligible student (including any year(s) Hope scholarship credit was claimed)
Type of program required Student must be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized education credential
Number of courses Student must be enrolled at least half-time for at least one academic period that begins during 2015 (or the first 3 months of 2016 if the qualified expenses were paid in 2015)
Felony drug conviction As of the end of 2015, the student had not been convicted of a felony for possessing or distributing a controlled substance
Qualified expenses Tuition, required enrollment fees, and course materials that the student needs for a course of study whether or not the materials are bought at the educational institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance
Payments for academic periods Payments made in 2015 for academic periods beginning in 2015 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2016

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Lifetime Learning Credit for 2015

Maximum credit Up to $2,000 credit per return
Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) $130,000 if married filling jointly;
$65,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
Refundable or nonrefundable Nonrefundable—credit limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your taxable income
Number of years of postsecondary education Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills
Number of tax years credit available Available for an unlimited number of tax years
Type of program required Student doesn’t need to be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized education credential
Number of courses Available for one or more courses
Felony drug conviction Felony drug convictions don’t make the student ineligible
Qualified expenses Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance (including amounts required to be paid to the institution for course-related books, supplies, and equipment)
Payments for academic periods Payments made in 2015 for academic periods beginning in 2015 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2016

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