Two tax credits that can help you offset the cost of higher education are the American opportunity credit and the lifetime learning credit.

American Opportunity Credit

You may be able to take a credit of up to $2,500 for qualified education expenses for each student who qualifies for the American opportunity credit. This credit equals 100% of the first $2,000 and 25% of the next $2,000 of qualified expenses paid for each eligible student. Up to $1,000 of the credit may be refundable.

The amount of your credit is gradually reduced (phased out) if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is between $80,000 and $90,000 ($160,000 and $180,000 if you file a joint return). You cannot claim a credit if your MAGI is $90,000 or more ($180,000 or more if you file a joint return).

Lifetime Learning Credit

If you do not qualify for the American opportunity credit, you may be able to take a credit of up to $2,000 for the total qualified education expenses paid for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents enrolled at an eligible education institution. The credit is equal to 20% of your out-of-pocket expenses up to a maximum of $10,000 in expenses.

The amount of your credit phases out over a MAGI range of $53,000 to $63,000 ($107,000 to $127,000 if you file a joint return). No credit is available if your MAGI is $63,000 or more ($127,000 or more if you file a joint return).

 

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