What is the difference between education credit and tuition and fee deduction?

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Education credit

Going to college is  confusing, especially if you’re looking to spend as little as possible. Tuition and fee deduction is different than education credit, and each offers something different. If you have racked up academic expenses during the academic year, you may qualify for a tax break. Find additional details here.

There are two different education credits you can claim: American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC).

The AOTC offers students up to $2,500 towards educational expenses. The credit is 40% refundable. This means you could receive a partial refund depending on your financial circumstances.

This credit has to be claimed within up to four years after finishing your studies. In order to qualify your adjusted gross income must be less than $90,000 or $180,000 for married couples.

The LLC is not refundable. However, it offers $2,000 per student and there is no limit on how many years you are able to claim it. To qualify, your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $64,000 for individuals and $128,000 for married couples.


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Tuition and fee deduction

If you do not qualify for AOTC or LLC, you may be eligible to save with the Tuition and Fees Deduction. This will allow taxpayers to deduct up to $4,000 for eligible educational expenses.

You can only claim the deduction for yourself or your spouse. This means parents cannot claim it on behalf of their child.

This deduction allows you to reduce your taxable income instead of tax liability. It is available for single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income under $80,000 and under $160,00 for married couples.


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