If you are a student between the ages of 19 and 24, attending class full-time, and your parents provide at least half your support, the IRS will allow you to claim only your standard deduction when you file your tax return. There are really only two tax deductions or credits that are aimed specifically at students: the Hope Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
The Hope Tax Credit
This is a tax credit for those students earning less than $52,000, which should be most students. You get to claim 100 percent of the first $1000 you spent on tuition, and 50 percent of the second $1000 you spent. Since it maxes out at $1500, it's helpful, but with the cost of school, it's a mere drop in the bucket. The Hope credit is limited to the first two full years of tuition paid.
The Lifetime Learning Credit
Here a student gets a credit for up to 20 percent of the first $10,000 they spend on college expenses. This is the credit that can be used beyond the student's first two years in school. This credit too is limited to those who earn less than $52,000, or $105,000 if married.
What Is Included?
The school should provide you with a 1098T that spells out exactly how much tuition was paid by you for the entire the tax year. This year the IRS has allowed the inclusion of expenses for a new laptop in with the tuition deductions. So if your limits don't reach the maximum with tuition, you may wish to add on the price of the new laptop you purchased. Another deduction is the interest paid on a student loan, which typically doesn't begin accruing or becoming due until after graduation. If you have paid that interest, the loan provider will send you a form with the amount of interest paid for that tax year.
In order to qualify for the above credits and deductions, and for any individualized state deductions, the student must be free of any felony convictions involving narcotics in the tax year being applied for. Felony convictions involving narcotics can bar you from receiving these tax advantages. Other felony convictions apparently cannot.
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