A primer of education tax breaks

Posted on Sep 1, 2016


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Are your children in college? You may be able to offset some of the costs of their education with tax breaks. Here’s a “tax primer.”

Education tax credits include the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. The American Opportunity Tax Credit can reduce your tax bill by up to $2,500 per student. Currently, the credit can be claimed for all four years of study, and up to 40% of the credit can be refundable. The maximum Lifetime Learning Credit is $2,000 regardless of the number of college students in your family. Both credits are subject to limits, depending on your income.

The student loan interest deduction is an above-the-line deduction of up to $2,500 a year for interest paid on student loans. The deduction will phase out depending on your income.

Education savings accounts let you set aside up to $2,000 per year per child in a tax-deferred account for elementary, secondary, or higher education expenses at either private or public schools. Phase-outs apply.

Section 529 plans include tax-favored college savings plans and prepaid tuition accounts. Tax-free withdrawals can be used to pay for tuition, fees, supplies, equipment, and certain room and board expenses.

Be sure to keep records of your tuition, fees, and other expenses so you can take advantage of all education tax breaks to which you’re entitled. For details and assistance, contact our office.

Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.