Posted by Carmen Garcia

Education Tax Benefits

Education Tax Benefits

We want to remind you of the federal education tax benefits you may be eligible for. Making the most of these tax benefits would help reduce spending on higher education.

If you're like a lot of Americans, you love to know the latest tax codes and what benefits you can claim on your taxes. As a parent or student, you need to know one "last minute" tax change and two tax credits, namely.

Withdraws Now Allowed, College Student Loans

The SECURE Act, adopted in December 2019, also known as a "last-minute" tax change, is particularly important for dependents or holders of university savings plan 529. The SECURE Act seems to aim mainly at those of retirement age. After all, the acronym SECURE focuses on retirement; its official name is the law on improving pensions for all communities in 2019. The common question on the table: does 529 cover accommodation and food? These were family conversations, and, before the SECURE Act 2019, the answer would probably have been different. 

In 2018, 529 college savings plans would not allow withdrawals to pay student loans or deduct tuition fees. However, you now have the option of withdrawing "up to $ 10,000 from your 529 plan to pay interest on student loans" and deduct taxes and fees. With this new improvement in the tax code, many questions arise about the college's savings plans. What is a savings plan for 529 colleagues? What Are Some of the Benefits of Investing in a 529 College Plan?

529 College Savings Plan

A 529 plan is a university savings plan that offers tax cuts and financial assistance. 529 plans can also be used to save and invest for K-12 tuition and tuition fees. There are two kinds of 529 plan accounts: 529 college savings plans and 529 prepaid plans. The most are the 529 college savings plans because investments increase tax-free and can be removed from taxes free for educational expenses such as schooling, room and board, and necessary textbooks. 

529 Prepaid Plan 

With college costs rising, it would be good to lock in tuition fees before they continue to increase. This is possible with the prepaid 529 plan, the second type of 529. It is possible to set the cost of a state public university by paying with the prepaid 529 plan. Please note that, unlike the savings plans, prepaid plans do not include room and board.

State Administered Yet Federally Regulated

A 529 plan has specific rules for the state of investment. You do not have to invest the funds in your state's 529 plan, but you must know the state's 529 plan's rules and regulations. For example, can you claim 529 funds in another state, or are there penalties? A great advantage of investing in your state's 529 plan is that there are usually state tax deductions that you can take full advantage of. It is important to understand that a 529 College Savings Account is managed and administered at the state level. Although ironically, 529 is part of the Federal Tax Code, the money you contribute to a 529 plan cannot be deducted from the federal income tax, but it could be at the level of state taxes. 

It is significant to note that although the law was passed in December 2019, with each state managing 529 plans, there is no need to load the provisions of Section 302 of the Secure Act, emphasizing tax-free withdrawals of up to $ 10,000 to pay student loans. 

It is best to consult an expert tax advisor in your state. 

Additional College Tax benefits

For preparing tax returns, there are many other educational tax benefits that you can deduct or earn as a tax credit when you filed your tax return in 2019. Some of the tax benefits to consider are:

American Credit Opportunity

Both tax credits are designed to offset the costs (fees, taxes, books, equipment, supplies) of college or career school by decreasing the amount of income tax. The IRS states: "qualified education fees paid by an eligible student during the first four years of higher education. You can earn a maximum annual credit of $ 2,500 for each qualified student. If the loan clears the amount of tax owed, you can get a 40% refund of any remaining credit amount (up to $ 1,000)." There are adequate gross income limits for applying for the AOC, and it is only available during the first four years of college. Form 1098-T from your school is required to claim this credit. If you have received it nor have not, please contact the school and visit the IRS website for more details.  

Lifetime Learning Credit

In addition to undergraduate programs, this specific credit helps students at the college and professional levels. There is no limit to the number of years that the LLC can last. The IRS website states that to be an eligible student for an LLC, you must "be enrolled in at least one academic period of the fiscal year and be enrolled or take courses at a qualified educational institution." The maximum benefit of LLC is a loan of $2,000 and is not repayable. For those who have a common return for spouses, singles, or households, the adjusted gross income limits are slightly lower than those of the AOTC. The IRS has a useful comparison chart for LLC and AOTC to compare the two education tax credits.

Student Loan Interest Deduction

This deduction is available to people who pay interest on student loans used in higher education and can reduce the amount of taxable income up to $ 2,500.

Form 1098-T

To help you determine eligibility for a training loan or enrollment deduction, Baylor provides a Form 1098-T for each calendar year. In the years before 2018, the Form 1098-T included data in Box 2 representing eligible expenses charged to your student account during the year. Due to the change in reporting obligations under federal law, starting with the 2018 tax year, Baylor reports payments received during the year for qualifying expenses in Table 1.

Students can view the Form 1098-T income tax return on the electronic invoicing system on the home page or electronic claims. 

Don't Forget About Scholarships.

While your college savings plans are useful financial resources and good tax credits to claim, you can get more money out of your scholarships. If you ask us, it is much easier to apply for scholarships than to understand the latest tax codes without a tax specialist's help.

Carmen Garcia
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