As a community college student, you
are eligible to receive education tax credits that can reduce the
expense of your education. 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 or attendance.
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 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 exemption.
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 answers to some frequently asked questions, refer
and for additional information on
education credits, refer to
Publication 970, Tax Benefits for