Tax & Financial Tips Archive
[Back to Archive]

 

Date: February 25, 2013
Subject: Parents and Students: Check Out College Tax Benefits for 2012 and Years Ahead



This is
G&G Associates Tax & Financial Consulting
e-Newsletter
Tax Tip of the Week

Parents and Students:
Check Out College Tax Benefits for 2012 and Years Ahead

Imhotep (Wisdom to You) G&G Readers,

IRS Issue Number: IR-2013-22

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday Feb 22nd … reminded parents and students that now is a good time to see if they qualify for either of two college education tax credits or any of several other education-related tax benefits.

In general, the American opportunity tax credit, lifetime learning credit and tuition and fees deduction are available to taxpayers who pay qualifying expenses for an eligible student. Eligible students include the primary taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse or a dependent of the taxpayer.

Though a taxpayer often qualifies for more than one of these benefits, he or she can only claim one of them for a particular student in a particular year. The benefits are available to all taxpayers – both those who itemize their deductions on Schedule A and those who claim a standard deduction. The credits are claimed on Form 8863 and the tuition and fees deduction is claimed on Form 8917.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act, enacted Jan. 2, 2013, extended the American opportunity tax credit for another five years until the end of 2017. The new law also retroactively extended the tuition and fees deduction, which had expired at the end of 2011, through 2013. The lifetime learning credit did not need to be extended because it was already a permanent part of the tax code.

--------------------------------
Internal Sponsorship:

G&G TAX PREPARATION SERVICES

G & G Associates is a Black-Owned Business focused on easing our client's minds on tax compliance matters. With the ever changing and burdensome tax code, overwhelming and confusing federal and state tax forms and increasing IRS scrutiny over most tax items, taxpayers need to have at least this one part of their lives made easier, less stressful and more profitable.

Our expert help includes our:

In-Depth Interview — a thorough and complete experience designed to unearth every tax savings opportunity during the course of your tax preparation. We use these to the latest IRS guidelines to guide you through a painless, interactive session so that together, we catch every single detail that results in more tax savings for you.

We can service clients anywhere in the world and we look forward to assisting you in getting your tax return prepared for the 2012 and beyond tax season. (Referrals available upon request)

If you are a returning client you'll get a 25% discount off your tax preparation fees. If you are a new client you'll get $40 off our normal fees. If you are active duty or retired military you'll get a 15% discount. If you are a senior citizen (above 65) you'll get a 20% discount.

At G&G Associates, we GUARANTEE to beat "ANY" other tax professional’s price. We take pride in not nickeling and diming our customers with unnecessary charges & fees.

Do you have a friend, co-worker or family member who might be interested in G&G Associates Tax Preparation Services? If so, then you can earn $40 for everyone you refer that files their tax returns with us. Just refer that person, and when we complete their tax return we will send you a check for $40. To make the deal even sweeter, after (4) four referrals you will get your taxes done for free.

We are looking forward to doing business with you for this and future tax seasons.

For more information about G&G Associates, visit our website at www.gngnassociates.net
----------------------------------

For those eligible, including most undergraduate students, the American opportunity tax credit will yield the greatest tax savings. Alternatively, the lifetime learning credit should be considered by part-time students and those attending graduate school. For others, especially those who don’t qualify for either credit, the tuition and fees deduction may be the right choice.

All three benefits are available for students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school, including both nonprofit and for-profit institutions. None of them can be claimed by a nonresident alien or married person filing a separate return. In most cases, dependents cannot claim these education benefits.

Normally, a student will receive a Form 1098-T from their institution by the end of January of the following year. This form will show information about tuition paid or billed along with other information. However, amounts shown on this form may differ from amounts taxpayers are eligible to claim for these tax benefits. Taxpayers should see the instructions to Forms 8863 and 8917 and Publication 970 for details on properly figuring allowable tax benefits.

Many of those eligible for the American opportunity tax credit qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student. Here are some key features of the credit:
•The credit targets the first four years of post-secondary education, and a student must be enrolled at least half time. This means that expenses paid for a student who, as of the beginning of the tax year, has already completed the first four years of college do not qualify. Any student with a felony drug conviction also does not qualify.
•Tuition, required enrollment fees, books and other required course materials generally qualify. Other expenses, such as room and board, do not.
•The credit equals 100 percent of the first $2,000 spent and 25 percent of the next $2,000. That means the full $2,500 credit may be available to a taxpayer who pays $4,000 or more in qualified expenses for an eligible student.
•The full credit can only be claimed by taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $80,000 or less. For married couples filing a joint return, the limit is $160,000. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. No credit can be claimed by joint filers whose MAGI is $180,000 or more and singles, heads of household and some widows and widowers whose MAGI is $90,000 or more.
•Forty percent of the American opportunity tax credit is refundable. This means that even people who owe no tax can get an annual payment of up to $1,000 for each eligible student. Other education-related credits and deductions do not provide a benefit to people who owe no tax.

The lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 per tax return is available for both graduate and undergraduate students. Unlike the American opportunity tax credit, the limit on the lifetime learning credit applies to each tax return, rather than to each student. Though the half-time student requirement does not apply, the course of study must be either part of a post-secondary degree program or taken by the student to maintain or improve job skills. Other features of the credit include:

•Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance qualify as do other fees required for the course. Additional expenses do not.
•The credit equals 20 percent of the amount spent on eligible expenses across all students on the return. That means the full $2,000 credit is only available to a taxpayer who pays $10,000 or more in qualifying tuition and fees and has sufficient tax liability.
•Income limits are lower than under the American opportunity tax credit. For 2012, the full credit can be claimed by taxpayers whose MAGI is $52,000 or less. For married couples filing a joint return, the limit is $104,000. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. No credit can be claimed by joint filers whose MAGI is $124,000 or more and singles, heads of household and some widows and widowers whose MAGI is $62,000 or more

Like the lifetime learning credit, the tuition and fees deduction is available for all levels of post-secondary education, and the cost of one or more courses can qualify. The annual deduction limit is $4,000 for joint filers whose MAGI is $130,000 or less and other taxpayers whose MAGI is $65,000 or less. The deduction limit drops to $2,000 for couples whose MAGI exceeds $130,000 but is no more than $160,000, and other taxpayers whose MAGI exceeds $65,000 but is no more than $80,000.

Eligible parents and students can get the benefit of these provisions during the year by having less tax taken out of their paychecks. They can do this by filling out a new Form W-4, claiming additional withholding allowances, and giving it to their employer.

There are a variety of other education-related tax benefits that can help many taxpayers. They include:
•Scholarship and fellowship grants—generally tax-free if used to pay for tuition, required enrollment fees, books and other course materials, but taxable if used for room, board, research, travel or other expenses.
•Student loan interest deduction of up to $2,500 per year.
•Savings bonds used to pay for college—though income limits apply, interest is usually tax-free if bonds were purchased after 1989 by a taxpayer who, at time of purchase, was at least 24 years old.
•Qualified tuition programs, also called 529 plans, used by many families to prepay or save for a child’s college education.

Taxpayers with qualifying children who are students up to age 24 may be able to claim a dependent exemption and the earned income tax credit.

The general comparison table in Publication 970 can be a useful guide to taxpayers in determining eligibility for these benefits. Details can also be found in the Tax Benefits for Education Information Center on IRS.gov.

So, it will be imperative that you have a tax professional and "not just a tax preparer" doing your taxes. Trust me folks, there is a big difference.

One of the benefits of being a client with G&G Associates is that you'll get a free 30 min pre-tax preparation session to make sure you are gathering your documents appropriately before you submit your documents for tax preparation. And, you receive a free one financial consultation ($200 value) after getting your taxes completed to make sure finances are in order as well.

So, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Visit our website for more information and free online webinar classes to help you make sure you are audit proofing your records, or contact us today to set your appointment if you need a “TAX” OR “FINANCIAL” one-on-one consultation.

Until the next time!

Ankh Uja Snb (Life, Strength, & Health),

Asar Maa Ra Gray
Tax & Financial Consultant, RFC
G&G Associates
757-271-6068 office
866-361-3872 toll free fax
www.gngassociates.net

G&G Associates & G&G Travel are on Facebook, join our fan page.

**You must be a G&G Associates tax client to receive the $40 referral fee

*** [Price Guarantee does not apply to individuals filing refunds pertaining to VA Amendment CFR 26 § 1.122-1]

P.S. If you're not a GGIS Paid Subscriber reader yet, why not? Currently, our GGIS portfolio is packed with great plays to kick-start your portfolio for 2013.

P.S #2 If you are looking to Travel and looking for steep discounted travel, visit www.gngassociates.net, click on the “G&G Travel” link and let your travel planning begin. Let us know where you want to go and we’ll do our best to find you the best deal your money can buy. Become a Fan of G&G Travel on Facebook.

 

Tax & Financial Tips Archive
[Back to Archive]