Use tax breaks to cut education costs

Posted on Sep 12, 2011

As schools get back in session, it’s a good time to check the education tax breaks for which you might qualify. First, there’s the American Opportunity Tax Credit (formerly called the Hope credit) for a percentage of qualified expenses paid during the first four years of higher education. Second, the Lifetime Learning Credit allows a deduction for a percentage of qualified expenses paid for any year the American Opportunity Credit isn’t claimed, and it even applies to job-related classes. Third, you may qualify for a deduction for interest paid on student loans. Fourth, education savings accounts allow annual nondeductible contributions for children under 18, with tax-free withdrawals for qualifying education expenses. Section 529 plans for college expenses should also be investigated.

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