Reminder for parents and students: Check out college tax credits

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Special to The SUN

With another school year just around the corner, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds parents and students that now is a good time to see if they will qualify for either of two college tax credits or other education-related tax benefits when they file their 2015 federal income tax returns.

In general, the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit is available to taxpayers who pay qualifying expenses for an eligible student. Eligible students include the taxpayer, spouse and dependents. The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides a credit for each eligible student, while the Lifetime Learning Credit provides a maximum credit per tax return.

Though a taxpayer often qualifies for both of these credits, he or she can only claim one of them for a particular student in a particular year. To claim these credits on their tax return, the taxpayer must file Form 1040 or 1040A and complete Form 8863, Education Credits.

The credits apply to eligible students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school, including both nonprofit and for-profit institutions. The credits are subject to income limits that could reduce the amount claimed on their tax return.

To help determine eligibility for these benefits, taxpayers should visit the Education Credits Web page or use the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant tool. Both are available on IRS.gov.

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