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Can I deduct my college education expenses?

You might qualify to deduct your tuition and related expenses. They must have been paid by you or your spouse. Your deduction is limited to:

  • $4,000 if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $65,000 or less or $130,000 or less if you're married filing jointly
  • $2,000 if your modified AGI is more than:
    • $65,000 but less than $80,000
    • $130,000 but less than $160,000 if you're married filing jointly
  • $0 if your AGI is $80,000 or more or $160,000 or more if you're married filing jointly

You usually can't claim the higher education expense deduction if any of these apply:

  • You're married filing separately.
  • You're a nonresident alien.
  • You can claim one of these:
    • Hope Credit
    • American Opportunity Credit
    • Lifetime Learning Credit

You might also qualify for an education credit for your expenses. The American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit are available in 2013. You must choose between the credits -- you can't claim both.

You apply part of your qualifying educational expenses against the taxes you owe. If you qualify, a part of the American Opportunity Credit might be refundable. So, you'd get that portion of the credit as a refund if you don't owe any taxes.

 

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