AOTC | Internal Revenue Service

The American opportunity tax credit ( AOTC ) is a recognition for restricted education expenses paid for an eligible scholar for the first four years of higher education. You can get a maximum annual credit of $ 2,500 per eligible scholar. If the credit brings the amount of tax you owe to zero, you can have 40 percentage of any remaining amount of the credit ( up to $ 1,000 ) refunded to you .
The amount of the credit is 100 percentage of the first base $ 2,000 of modify department of education expenses you paid for each eligible student and 25 percentage of the next $ 2,000 of dependent education expenses you paid for that student .

Who is an eligible student for AOTC?

To be eligible for AOTC, the student must :

  • Be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential
  • Be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period* beginning in the tax year
  • Not have finished the first four years of higher education at the beginning of the tax year
  • Not have claimed the AOTC or the former Hope credit for more than four tax years
  • Not have a felony drug conviction at the end of the tax year

*Academic Period can be semesters, trimesters, quarters or any early period of analyze such as a summer school seance. The schools determine the academic periods. For schools that use clock or credit hours and do not have academic terms, the payment period may be treated as an academic menstruation.

Claiming the credit

To be eligible to claim the AOTC or the life learning citation ( LLC ), the law requires a taxpayer ( or a dependent ) to have received Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from an eligible educational initiation, whether domestic or foreign. by and large, students receive a Form 1098-T PDF Tuition Statement, from their school by January 31. This affirmation helps you figure your accredit. The phase will have an come in box 1 to show the amounts received during the class. But this sum may not be the sum you can claim. See qualify education expenses in Publication 970 PDF, Tax Benefits for Education, for more information on what sum to claim .
Check the Form 1098-T to make indisputable it is adjust. If it isn ’ t correct or you do not receive the shape, contact your school .
To claim AOTC, you must complete the form 8863 PDF and attach the completed shape to your tax return .

Be careful claiming the AOTC

Make surely you are qualified before claiming the credit. And, make certain you keep copies of all the documents you used to find out if you qualify and determine the total of your credit. If the IRS audits your return and finds your AOTC claim is incorrect and you don ’ t have the documents to show you qualified, you must pay back the sum of the AOTC you received in error with interest. The IRS may besides charge you an accuracy or a imposter penalty. Or, you can be banned from claiming the AOTC for two to ten years.

If your tax year 2019 AOTC claim was disallowed in 2020, you may need to file Form 8862 PDF before claiming the credit in future tax years. See My EITC, CTC/ACTC and/or My AOTC was Disallowed Previously and now I Want To Claim It Form 8862 for more information .

Valid TIN before the due date of the return

You may not claim the AOTC unless you, your spouse ( if you are filing a roast retort ) and the qualifying scholar have a valid taxpayer identification issue ( TIN ) issued or applied for on or before the due go steady of the return ( including extensions ). A tin is a social Security number, an person taxpayer identification number ( ITIN ) or an borrowing taxpayer identification number ( ATIN ) .
You may not claim the AOTC on a late original revert or an better return if the TIN is issued on or applied for after the due date of the render ( including extensions ) .
To ensure you receive the benefit of the AOTC if you qualify for it, you should timely obtain the want TIN.

What are the income limits for AOTC?

  • To claim the full credit, your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) must be $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less for married filing jointly).
  • You receive a reduced amount of the credit if your MAGI is over $80,000 but less than $90,000 (over $160,000 but less than $180,000 for married filing jointly).
  • You cannot claim the credit if your MAGI is over $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers).

MAGI for most people is the sum of AGI, adjusted gross income, shown on your tax reelect. If you file phase 1040, you add the follow amounts to your AGI :

  • Foreign earned income exclusion,
  • Foreign housing exclusion,
  • Foreign housing deduction,
  • Exclusion of income by bona fide residents of American Samoa, or of Puerto Rico.
  • If you need to adjust your AGI to find your MAGI, there are worksheets in the Publication 970 PDF to help you .
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