Financial Answer Center
Education Tax Incentives

The Lifetime Learning Credit

The Lifetime Learning credit is available to reduce federal income taxes for qualified tuition and fees (not for room, board, or books) paid for a student at an eligible educational institution. Expenses for courses to acquire or improve job skills qualify for the credit as well.

The Lifetime Learning credit equals 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified education expenses annually. The Lifetime Learning credit is available for any course work at a qualified education institution that improves job skills. Only one Lifetime Learning credit is available annually to a taxpayer, regardless of the number of students incurring qualified tuition expenses.

In 2019 the credit is phased out for joint filers with modified AGI between $116,000 and $136,000 ($114,000 and $134,000 in 2018); and $58,000 and $68,000 ($57,000 and $67,000 in 2018) for single filers. These income amounts will be annually adjusted for inflation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are married filing a separate return, you cannot claim the higher education credits.

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