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IRS.gov Website
Publication 970
taxmap/pubs/p970-009.htm#en_us_publink1000178139

Chapter 3
Lifetime Learning Credit(p22)


What’s New(p22)

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Modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) limits.(p22)
For 2018, the amount of your lifetime learning credit is gradually reduced (phased out) if your MAGI is between $57,000 and $67,000 ($114,000 and $134,000 if you file a joint return). You can't claim the credit if your MAGI is $67,000 or more ($134,000 or more if you file a joint return). For more information, see Figuring the Credit.

Reminders(p22)

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Form 1098-T requirement.(p22)
To be eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit, the law requires a taxpayer (or a dependent) to have received Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from an eligible educational institution, whether domestic or foreign.
However, you may claim the credit if the student doesn't receive a Form 1098-T because the student's educational institution isn't required to furnish a Form 1098-T to the student under existing rules (for example, if the student is a qualified nonresident alien, has qualified education expenses paid entirely with scholarships, has qualified education expenses paid under a formal billing arrangement, or is enrolled in courses for which no academic credit is awarded). If a student's educational institution isn't required to provide a Form 1098-T to the student, you may claim the credit without a Form 1098-T if you otherwise qualify, can demonstrate that you (or a dependent) were enrolled at an eligible educational institution, and can substantiate the payment of qualified tuition and related expenses.
You may also claim the credit if the student attended an eligible educational institution required to furnish Form 1098-T but the student doesn't receive Form 1098-T before you file your tax return (for example, if the institution otherwise required to furnish the Form 1098-T doesn't furnish it or refuses to do so) and you take the following required steps. After January 31, 2019, but before the due date for your 2018 tax return, you or the student must request that the educational institution furnish a Form 1098-T. You must fully cooperate with the educational institution's efforts to gather the information needed to furnish the Form 1098-T. You must also otherwise qualify for the benefit, be able to demonstrate that you (or a dependent) were enrolled at an eligible educational institution, and substantiate the payment of qualified tuition and related expenses.

taxmap/pubs/p970-009.htm#en_us_publink1000273662Introduction

For 2018, there are two tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education by reducing the amount of your income tax. They are the American opportunity credit and the lifetime learning credit. This chapter discusses the lifetime learning credit. The American opportunity credit is discussed in chapter 2.
This chapter explains:
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What is the tax benefit of the lifetime learning credit?(p23)

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For the tax year, you may be able to claim a lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for all eligible students. There is no limit on the number of years the lifetime learning credit can be claimed for each student.
A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you may have to pay. Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a credit directly reduces the tax itself. The lifetime learning credit is a nonrefundable credit. This means that it can reduce your tax to zero, but if the credit is more than your tax the excess won't be refunded to you.
Your allowable lifetime learning credit may be limited by the amount of your income and the amount of your tax.
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Can you claim more than one education credit this year? (p23)

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For each student, you can elect for any year only one of the credits. For example, if you elect to claim the lifetime learning credit for a child on your 2018 tax return, you can't, for that same child, also claim the American opportunity credit for 2018.
If you are eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit and you are also eligible to claim the American opportunity credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both.
Deposit
If you claim the American opportunity credit for any student, you can choose between using that student's adjusted qualified education expenses for the American opportunity credit or the lifetime learning credit. If you have the choice, the American opportunity credit will always be greater than the lifetime learning credit.
If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to claim certain credits on a per-student, per-year basis. This means that, for example, you can claim the American opportunity credit for one student and the lifetime learning credit for another student in the same year.
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Differences between the American opportunity and lifetime learning credits.(p23)

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There are several differences between these two credits. For example, you can claim the American opportunity credit for the same student for no more than 4 tax years, but any year in which the Hope scholarship credit was claimed counts toward the 4 years. However, there is no limit on the number of years for which you can claim a lifetime learning credit based on the same student's expenses. The differences between these credits are shown in Appendix B near the end of this publication.
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Overview of the lifetime learning credit for 2018.(p23)

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See Table 3-1 for the basics of the credit. The details are discussed in this chapter.
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Can You Claim the Credit?(p23)

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The following rules will help you determine if you are eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit on your tax return.
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Who Can Claim the Credit?(p23)

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Generally, you can claim the lifetime learning credit if all three of the following requirements are met.
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Table 3-1.   Overview of the Lifetime Learning Credit for 2018

Maximum credit Up to $2,000 credit per return
Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) $134,000 if married filling jointly;
$67,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
Refundable or nonrefundable Nonrefundable—credit limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your taxable income
Number of years of postsecondary education Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills
Number of tax years credit available Available for an unlimited number of tax years
Type of program required Student doesn't need to be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized education credential
Number of courses Available for one or more courses
Felony drug conviction Felony drug convictions don't make the student ineligible
Qualified expenses Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance (including amounts required to be paid to the institution for course-related books, supplies, and equipment)
Payments for academic periods Payments made in 2018 for academic periods beginning in 2018 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2019
Note.Qualified education expenses paid by a dependent you claim on your tax return, or by a third party for that dependent, are considered paid by you.
"Qualified education expenses" are defined later under Qualified Education Expenses. "Eligible students" are defined later under Who Is an Eligible Student. A dependent you claim on your tax return is defined later under Who Can Claim a Dependent's Expenses.
You may find Figure 3-1 helpful in determining if you can claim a lifetime learning credit on your tax return.
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Who Can't Claim the Credit? (p24)

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You can't claim the lifetime learning credit for 2018 if any of the following apply.