The American Opportunity Credit (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) allows more parents and students to qualify for a tax credit for college expenses.
To this end, the IRS has developed a brief fact sheet to assist you in completing your 2009 tax return. Here are a few highlights:
- The American Opportunity Credit can be claimed for expenses paid for any of the first four years of post-secondary education.
- The credit is worth up to $2,500 and is based on a percentage of the cost of qualified tuition and related expenses paid during the taxable year for each eligible student. This is a $700 increase from the Hope Credit.
- The term “qualified tuition and related expenses” has been expanded to include expenditures for required course materials. For this purpose, the term “course materials” means books, supplies and equipment required for a course of study.
- Taxpayers will receive a tax credit based on 100 percent of the first $2,000 of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year, plus 25 percent of the next $2,000 of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year.
- Forty percent of the credit is refundable, so even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit for each eligible student as cash back.
- To be eligible for the full credit, your modified adjusted gross income must be $80,000 or less — $160,000 or less for joint filers.
- The credit is claimed using Form 8863, Education Credits, (American Opportunity, Hope, and Lifetime Learning Credits), and is attached to Form 1040 or 1040A.
For more information regarding this tax credit, visit the IRS information center here: http://bit.ly/4pkkEl