Lifetime Learning Tax Credit

Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is a tax credit of 20% of the first $10,000 you paid for qualified tuition and related expenses for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent for whom you claim an exemption. The maximum amount of credit you can claim is $2,000 (20% of $10,000) per return.

You may claim the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit if your family has children enrolled at eligible institutions. There are several differences between the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning tax credits. The latter:

  • is not based on the student's workload and is allowed for one or more courses.
  • is not limited to students in the first four years of postsecondary education.
  • can be claimed for expenses for graduate-level degree work.
  • has no limit on the number of years for which the credit can be claimed for each student.
  • does not increase (i.e., the amount to be claimed) based on the number of students receiving qualified expenses.

To claim a Lifetime Learning credit, taxpayers must file using federal tax form 1040 or 1040A and attach Form 8863 (Education Credits); however, itemizing deductions is not a requirement.

Visit the IRS Web site for additional Tax Benefits for Education information.