Education Credits--AOTC and LLC
An education credit helps with the cost of higher education by reducing the amount of tax owed on your tax return. If the credit reduces your tax to less than zero, you may get a refund. There are two education credits available: the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
Don’t overlook these important credits.
Who can claim an education credit?
There are additional rules for each credit, but you must meet all three of the following for both:
Who cannot claim an education credit?
You cannot claim an Education Credit when:
Compare the education credits
The education credits have some similarities but some very important differences. Find out which credit you qualify for, see our handy chart to compare the education credits.
Use our interactive app
Our interactive app, "Am I Eligible to Claim and Education Credit?" helps you determine if you are eligible for education credits and deductions.
What should I do if I receive a letter from the IRS or I’m audited?
You will benefit from knowing your rights as a taxpayer and being familiar with the IRS's obligations to protect them. The goal of the Taxpayer Rights Corner is to inform you of your rights during every step of your interaction with the IRS.
Did you receive a letter?
You may have received the letter because the IRS did not receive a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, or the educational institution (college) did not prepare the Form 1098-T accurately. If the Form 1098-T is wrong or you never received it, contact the school to request a copy or corrected copy for that year.
Audit and examination process
IRS selects income tax returns for examination identified by computer programs showing a return has incorrect amounts. The examination may or may not result in a change to your tax or credits.
Use the following links for additional information:
Find information for tax return preparers, schools, community and social organizations on our Refundable Credits Toolkit
Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center
The Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center has information on other education benefits--deductions, savings plans and business or work-related education expenses.
Watch out for these common errors made when claiming education credits
Find the answers to the questions you ask about education credits
More education benefit resources
Technical forms and publications