|Tax Topic #605
||2006 Tax Year
There are two education tax credits available, the Hope Credit and the Lifetime
Learning Credit. The credits are based on education expenses paid for you, your spouse,
or your dependents. During any particular year, you can claim only one of the credits
for each student.
The amount of the credit is determined by the amount you pay for "qualified tuition
and related expenses" for each student and the amount of your modified adjusted gross
income (modified AGI).
Expenses that qualify are tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance
at an accredited college, university, vocational school, or other post–secondary
educational institution that is eligible to participate in a student aid program administered
by the Department of Education.
Qualified expenses do not include room and board, insurance, transportation, or
other similar personal, living, or family expenses. Qualified expenses may include
fees for books, supplies, and equipment only if the fees must be paid to the school
for the student's enrollment or attendance. In addition, qualified expenses may include
student activity fees if the fee must be paid to the school for the student's enrollment
You can claim a Hope Credit only for an "eligible student." An "eligible student"
is a student who:
- As of the beginning of the year, has not completed the first two years of post–secondary
education (that is, generally is a freshman or sophomore in college).
- Is enrolled in a program that leads to a degree, certificate, or other recognized
educational credential, for at least one academic period beginning during the year.
- Is taking at least one–half of the normal full–time workload for the
student's course of study for at least one academic period beginning during the calendar
- Is free of any federal or state felony conviction for possessing or distributing
a controlled substance as of the end of the year.
You can claim a Hope Credit for only two tax years for each eligible student. An
eligible student can be you, your spouse, or your dependent for whom you claim an
The Lifetime Learning Credit is not based on the student's workload. It is allowed
for one or more courses that the student takes at an eligible educational institution.
The credit is not limited to students in the first two years of post–secondary
education. Expenses for graduate–level degree work are eligible. However, to
be eligible for the credit, the student must be taking course work in order to acquire
or improve job skills. There is no limit on the number of tax years for which the
Lifetime Learning credit can be claimed for each student. The amount you can claim
as a credit does not vary (i.e., increase) based on the number of students for whom
you pay qualified expenses.
Both the Hope Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit may be reduced, or eliminated,
if your modified adjusted gross income exceeds certain limits, based on your filing
status. You cannot claim either credit if you are married filing a separate return.
The credit is claimed on Form 8863 (PDF).
For additional information on education credits, refer to Publication 970, Tax
Benefits for Education.
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