Tax Time – Are You Ready?

haveuheard tax time umd

What Month Is It Anyway?

April 15th is right around the corner. As you are preparing your return or having a CPA prepare your return, do not forget to take advantage of the Education Tax Credits available which can help offset the cost of students’ tuition.

Two Credits Available

There are two tax credits available to take, The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. The AOTC (American Opportunity Tax Credit) was made permanent by the Protecting Americans from the Tax Hikes Act signed in 2015. The AOTC allows credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. The AOTC/Lifetime Learning credits are based on the payment of “qualified tuition and related expenses.” These are the expenses for tuition and academic fees that are required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. Qualified tuition and related expenses do not include student activity fees, athletic fees, insurance, room and board, transportation costs, and other personal living expenses. They also don’t include courses involving sports, games, or hobbies, unless they’re part of the student’s degree program. Books are qualified expenses under the AOTC, but not the Lifetime Learning credit. Those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student for which $1,000 is refundable for the American Opportunity Tax Credit. That means if you owe nothing, you get it back. A taxpayer whose gross income is greater than $90K ($180K filing joint) cannot claim the credit.

The Lifetime Learning Credit is $2,000 per year per taxpayer, for any post-high school education (including graduate-level courses and courses to acquire or improve job skills) at an eligible educational institution. The Lifetime Learning credit is nonrefundable-i.e., it can reduce regular income taxes to zero but can’t result in the receipt of a refund. For the Lifetime Learning Credit, a taxpayer whose gross income is greater than $68K ($136K filing joint) cannot claim the credit. The Form 1098-T should be available online around January 24th, 2020 in paperless form and received by mail by January 31, 2021.

To retrieve the Form 1098-T follows these steps:

  • Go to UMD billpay
  • Under the resources tab at the top of the page and select “1098-T”
  • At the top of that page click where it says “Access the 1098-T: HERE”
  • Log in with your UMD ID and you will have access to the form

Make sure you take your allowable credits and consult with a professional. For further clarification, you can read more in-depth information for the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

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2020-07-30T13:17:35-04:000 Comments

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