What Are Education Tax Credits? A Complete Guide: 2024 – UniAcco

What are education tax credits


Education tax credits are essential in helping students and their families manage the cost of higher education. It’s crucial to comprehend these credits since they provide worthwhile advantages that can drastically lower the expense of college. Eligible individuals can lower their tax obligations and gain significant financial aid for tuition by utilising education tax credits. By enabling them to make educated choices, students and parents are better equipped to maintain the affordability and accessibility of higher education. 

In this blog, we will understand ‘What are education tax credits and the advantages, types, and significance of education tax credits to empower people to make the most of their financial planning and achieve a better future via education.

What Are Education Tax Credits?

Taxpayers who pay qualifying higher education costs for eligible students enrolled in eligible educational institutions, such as colleges or universities, are given financial benefits known as education tax credits. 

How Does The Education Tax Credit Work?

The two primary categories of educational tax credits are the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). While the LLC is advantageous to individuals seeking professional degrees as well as graduate and undergraduate students, the AOTC provides undergraduate students with a larger credit number. These credits are intended to lessen the financial burden of higher education expenses and offer qualifying individuals and families tax relief. 

We hope you got a little clearer knowledge of what are education tax credits. To get the best insights into this concept, let’s dive deeper into this and unfold every aspect of it.

Types Of Education Tax Credits

American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is provided to undergraduate students pursuing their first four years of post-secondary education. Students must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at least half-time to be eligible. The credit is worth up to $2,500 per qualifying student per year and pays 100% of the first $2,000 and 25% of the subsequent $2,000 in eligible educational costs such as tuition, fees, and necessary course materials.

Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC)

The Lifetime Learning Credit is more accommodating because it is available to anyone seeking professional degrees, continuing education, and both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The credit may be used for an unlimited number of years. Students who qualify may deduct up to 20% of the first $10,000 in eligible educational costs, with a cap of $2,000 per tax return.

Criteria for Eligibility

What are education tax credits and how do they work? When it comes to accessing these financial incentives, understanding the criteria for eligibility is a fundamental step towards maximizing your benefits and alleviating the costs associated with higher education.

  • Taxpayers who want to use either credit must fulfil the requirements listed below:
  • Be the individual filing the tax return, their spouse, or a dependant.
  • Have covered an eligible student’s eligible educational costs while they were enrolled at an eligible educational facility.
  • Obtain the credit by meeting the income requirements for each credit since they taper out at higher income levels.

How To Qualify For An Education Tax Credit

  • The taxpayer or the qualified student cannot have a felony drug possession or distribution conviction on their record.
  • The student must be enrolled in classes to earn a degree or certificate or to develop or enhance employment skills.
  • The educational institution must have sent the taxpayer Form 1098-T, which contains information about the costs paid throughout the tax year.
  • For those who qualify, claiming education tax credits can dramatically lower their tax liability, increasing access to and affordability of higher education. To guarantee eligibility and proper claiming of these credits, it is crucial to follow IRS standards and speak with a tax expert.

Benefits And Limitations Of Education Tax Credits

Benefits of Education Tax CreditsLimitations of Education Tax Credits
It lowers the tax liability for taxpayers, directly reducing the financial burden of higher education expenses.To qualify for education tax credits, taxpayers must meet specific criteria, such as income limitations and enrollment status. Not all taxpayers may be eligible.
Taxpayers can save significant money through education tax credits, resulting in potential refunds if the credit exceeds the tax owed.The credits have income phase-out ranges, and higher-income taxpayers may not be eligible for the full credit amount.
Different tax credits, such as the AOTC and LLC, cater to various educational pursuits, allowing taxpayers to choose the credit that best suits their situation.Only specific expenses, like tuition and required course materials, are eligible for the credits, limiting the scope of eligible deductions.
Education tax credits cover undergraduate and graduate students and those seeking professional education, making them accessible to a broad range of individuals.Credits have time limits and are generally available for a limited number of years, varying with each credit.
These credits incentivise individuals to pursue further education by making higher education more affordable, potentially increasing overall educational attainment.Some education credits are non-refundable, meaning they can reduce the tax owed to zero but won’t provide a refund beyond that.

How To Claim Education Tax Credits

  • Determine Eligibility: Check if you meet the criteria for each credit. For the American Opportunity Credit, ensure you are an undergraduate college student and not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Confirm your student status for the Lifetime Learning Credit, and note that you can’t claim both credits in the same year.
  • Gather Documentation: Collect necessary documents, such as Form 1098-T from your educational institution, showing the amount of qualified expenses paid for the tax year.
  • Calculate the Credit: Calculate the amount of credit you are eligible for based on the education expenses you paid during the tax year.
  • Fill Out the Appropriate Form: To claim the American Opportunity Credit, complete IRS Form 8863. For the Lifetime Learning Credit, use IRS Form 8863 or claim the credit directly on your tax return if applicable.
  • Report the Credit: Enter the calculated credit amount on your tax return in the designated section. If you use tax software or a tax preparer, they will guide you through this process.
  • File Your Tax Return: Submit your completed tax return, ensuring accurate reporting of education credits and other applicable forms.

Understanding what are education tax credits and how to claim them is a crucial factor in effectively managing higher education expenses and optimizing potential tax savings.

Updates On Tax Laws Related To Education Credits

Updates On Tax Laws Related To Education Credits

TCS for Foreign Remittances: As of the Union Budget 2023, the tax collection at source (TCS) for foreign remittances under the liberalised remittance scheme (LRS) has been raised from 5% to 20%. This increase in TCS will apply to various foreign transactions, including foreign trips, overseas investments, and sending money abroad, except for education and medical purposes. This means that parents sending money for their children’s education abroad will still be subject to the previous 5% TCS rate, providing some relief for families supporting students studying overseas.

Education and Medical Exceptions: The recent tax law update specifies that the higher 20% TCS rate will not apply to foreign remittances for education and medical purposes. This exception ensures that parents supporting their children’s education abroad will continue to benefit from the previous 5% TCS rate for such transactions.

Additional Tips and Information

Education Tax Credits: For eligible taxpayers, education tax credits like the American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit remain valuable tools to reduce the tax burden associated with higher education expenses. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the criteria, documentation requirements, and credit amounts to maximise your tax savings.

Seek advice from a tax professional for complex tax laws: If you have questions about education tax credits or foreign remittances, consider seeking advice from a qualified tax professional to ensure accurate and compliant tax filing.

Keep Records: When claiming education tax credits, maintain proper documentation, such as Form 1098-T and receipts for qualified expenses, to support your claims in case of an audit.

Plan Ahead: If you are considering supporting your child’s education abroad, be aware of the updated TCS rate for foreign remittances. Proper financial planning can help you budget for the associated tax implications.

Hope this additional information helps you to gain a clearer understanding regarding what are education tax credits.


For those who qualify, education tax credits are useful financial aids that lessen the financial burden of paying for higher education. Education is made more accessible and inexpensive through alternatives like the American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit, which allow taxpayers to lower their tax obligations considerably and perhaps get refunds. People are better able to maximise their financial planning and make wise decisions to support their educational aspirations when they are aware of changes in tax rules and understand the qualifying requirements. We hope this blog helped you get a clear insight into what education tax credits are.


Q1. What is the difference between the AOTC and the Lifetime Learning Credit?

Ans: The Lifetime Learning Credit is available for unlimited years, whereas the American Opportunity Tax Credit is only available for the first four years of post-secondary education. In addition, the American Opportunity Tax Credit offers a higher maximum credit amount than the Lifetime Learning Credit.

Q2. How does foreign tax credit work in the US?

Ans: Taxpayers who have paid income taxes to another nation can partially offset their US tax burden in the US thanks to the overseas tax credit. IRS Form 1116 is used to claim this credit, which is intended to prevent double taxation on income earned overseas.

Q3. Is my vocational school eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit?

Ans: The accreditation of a vocational school determines whether it is a qualified educational institution for the Lifetime Learning Credit. The institution must be qualified to take part in the student aid programs run by the US Department of Education. You can inquire directly with the institution or consult the Department of Education’s listing of accredited institutions.

Q4. Is education tax-free in India?

Ans: India’s tax system does not exclude education. Although the Indian Income Tax Act contains some provisions for tax deductions and exemptions linked to educational costs, the tax treatment might vary based on the precise expenses and relevant tax law rules.

Q5. How much is an education tax credit?

Ans: Education tax credits vary based on eligibility and eligible expenses. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) offers up to $2,500 per student, while the Lifetime Learning Credit offers up to $2,000 per tax return. Other credits have different maximum amounts and eligibility criteria. 

Q6. What is the income limit for the education tax credit?

Ans: The education deduction in India allows for a maximum deduction of Rs 1.50 lakh every financial year. It’s important to note that the deduction is available only on the actual payment made by the parent, not on a payable basis. 

Q7. What if my school does not send me Form 1098-T?

Ans: Even if your school does not provide you with a Form 1098-T, you can still make a tax credit or deduction claim for your education. You should keep track of the amounts spent for tuition and other associated charges, as well as your eligible educational costs. To be sure you can appropriately claim any applicable school tax advantages, consult IRS guidelines or a tax expert.

Thank you for taking the time to read the article “What are education tax credits”. If you’re interested in exploring more about universities, we encourage you to continue reading similar articles below

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What are education tax credits

What Are Education Tax Credits? A Complete Guide: 2024 – UniAcco

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