College and Students

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The American Opportunity Credit pays you back, in the form of a credit, for 100% of your first $2,000 of qualified education expenses for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents paid in 2015. It also pays you back 25% of the next $2,000 you spend on higher education, for a total credit of $2,500 per student, per year.

American Opportunity Credit

To claim the American Opportunity Credit, the student must be in the first four academic years of postsecondary education at an eligible school. It doesn't matter how many calendar years the student has been in school, as long as he or she is in still the freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year. The student must also be enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to a recognized credential, such as a degree, and cannot have had a felony conviction for possessing or distributing a controlled substance. You can only take this credit for a student for four years.

You may qualify to take the American Opportunity Credit regardless of the amount of tax you owe. Up to $1,000 of this credit is refundable. For example, say you had no income tax withheld and you owe no taxes. You could still get up to $1,000 back for the American Opportunity Credit if you meet the requirements. TaxAct calculates the credit, including any refundable portion, for you.

If you don't qualify because, for example you are not working on a degree or other credential, or you don't meet the half-time requirement, you may be able to take the Lifetime Learning Credit. This credit gives you 20% back of up to $10,000 in qualified expenses.

Lifetime Learning Credit

The maximum Lifetime Learning Credit you can take is $2,000, regardless of how many students are on your return.

You cannot claim the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit for the same student, in the same year.

TaxAct calculates your American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit on Form 8863, Education Credits.


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September 2016
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Upcoming Tax Dates

September 5 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Labor Day) - Details

September 12 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during August, report them to your employer - Details

September 12 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of August.

September 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of August.

September 15 — Individuals
Make a payment of your 2016 estimated tax if you are not paying your income tax for the year through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax that way). Use Form 1040-ES. This is the third installment - Details

September 15 — Corporations
File a 2015 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due. This due date applies only if you timely requested an automatic 6-month extension - Details

September 15 — S Corporations
File a 2015 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due. This due date applies only if you timely requested an automatic 6-month extension - Details

September 15 — Partnerships
File a 2015 calendar year return (Form 1065). This due date applies only if you were given an additional 5-month extension - Details

September 15 — Corporations
Deposit the third installment of estimated income tax for 2016 - Details

September 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in August.

September 15 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in August.

September 27 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of August.

September 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of September.

September 29 — Regular method taxes (special September deposit rule)
Deposit the tax for the period beginning September 16 and ending September 26.

September 29 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method (special September deposit rule).
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the period beginning September 1 and ending September 11.

September 30 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during August.

September 30 — Heavy highway vehicle use tax
File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in August.

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