The American Opportunity Credit
Update May 31, 2013 — This page has been updated to reflect the fact that the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which was to expire at the end of 2012, was extended through December 2017 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more parents and students will qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help pay for college expenses.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit modifies the existing Hope Credit. The AOTC makes the Hope Credit available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.
The full credit is available to individuals, whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. These income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits.
The AOTC applied to tax years 2009 and 2010 under ARRA. The credit was extended to apply for tax years 2011 and 2012 by the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the AOTC for five years through December 2017.
FAQ's about the 1098-T
What is a form 1098-T?
The IRS Form 1098-T (Tuition Statement) is issued to all students who attended an eligible educational institution and paid qualified tuition and fees during the previous calendar year. The information on Form 1098-T is used to determine if you are eligible to claim an education credit on your Federal Income Tax Return for the previous calendar year.
When will the forms 1098-T be mailed?
Forms 1098-T must be postmarked by January 31st. You should receive your form 1098-T no later than the end of the first week in February.
Where will the forms 1098-T be mailed?Forms 1098-T will be mailed to your permanent address on file with the college you attended.
What should I do if I haven't received my form 1098-T?If you have not received a form 1098-T by the end of the first week in February copies can be obtained at www.ecsi.net/1098T (use school code EV) or by calling 1-866-428-1098.
I was in the TCP (Teachers Certification Program) but never received my 1098-T.
The Teachers Certification Program is a non credit hour program, therefore tuition and fees are not reportable on Form 1098-T.
What information is reported on form 1098-T?
Qualified educational institutions are required to report the following for each student with qualified tuition and fees during the previous calendar year:
- Social security number
- Either payments received (Box 1) or amounts billed (Box 2) for qualified tuition and related expenses (Lone Star College System reports “amounts billed” in Box 2)
- The amount of scholarships or grants and tuition waivers received (Box 5)
- Whether you were enrolled as at least a half-time student (Box 8)
- Whether you were enrolled as a graduate student (Box 9)
What amounts are included in Box 2, "Amounts billed for qualified tuition and related expenses?"
Lone Star College System reports eligible tuition and fees using the “Invoice Billing Date” method. The amount in Box 2 represents the amount billed to you for registration activity during the previous calendar year.
If you have questions regarding the amounts in either Box 2 or 4, please contact the Business office at the campus you attended during the previous calendar year.
If you have questions regarding the amounts in either Box 5 or 6, please contact the Financial Aid office at the campus you attended during the previous calendar year.
Lone Star College System does not provide tax return preparation assistance. To determine if you qualify for one of the education tax credits, or for more information regarding tax benefits for education, consult IRS Publication 970, your tax advisor, or the IRS by calling
1-800-829-1040 or visiting them online at http://www.irs.gov/.
Financial Aid Contact Center
Mon-Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.