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Lifetime Learning Credit

Taken from IRS Pub 970 Chapter 4 Overview of Education Tax Benefits for Tax Year 2009

Maximum credit Up to $2,000 ($4,000 if a student in a Midwestern disaster area) credit per return
Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) $120,000 if married filling jointly;
$60,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
Refundable or nonrefundable Nonrefundable—credit limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your taxable income
Number of years of postsecondary education Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills
Number of tax years credit available Available for an unlimited number of years
Type of degree required Student does not need to be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential
Number of courses Available for one or more courses
Felony drug conviction Felony drug convictions are permitted
Qualified expenses Tuition and fees required for enrollment (including amounts required to be paid to the institution for course-related books, supplies, and equipment). Additional expenses allowed for students in Midwestern disaster areas.
Payments for academic periods Payments made in 2009 for academic periods beginning in 2009 and in the first 3 months of 2010

Who Can Claim the Credit

Generally, you can claim the lifetime learning credit if all three of the following requirements are met.

  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  • The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.