What is learning by doing in education?
. Tax Tip: The AOC is generally claimed by the parents of undergraduate students. Students may need to work together with their parents to determine the amount of eligible expenses to claim the credit and make sure their parents have copies of Form 1098-T, receipts for expenses and the account transcript.
The American Opportunity Credit generally doesn’t help graduate students or students who work full-time and take a class at night to develop their skills or finish a degree.
Lifetime Learning Credit Stays the Same The TCJA left in place rules that allowed certain student loan repayment assistance made on behalf of taxpayers to be tax-free in some circumstances. The TCJA did not make changes to the IRA penalty exception for education. Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on December 27, 2017.
Forms: Cancellation of debt is reported on Form 1099-C. Most exclusions are reported on Form 982. Tax Benefits for People Saving for Education Tax Tip: Tax law prevents taxpayers from double dipping on education benefits.
That means an individual can’t claim the AOC or lifetime learning credit for expenses paid with a nontaxable scholarship. However, sometimes a taxpayer benefits by treating a nontaxable scholarship income as taxable and claiming the AOC. This is most likely to be beneficial if the student has very little other income and the student’s parents can claim a full AOC.
The AOC is a credit of up to $2,500 per eligible student. Up to $1,000 of the credit is refundable. It is only available for four tax years per student and is only available if the student has not completed the first four years of postsecondary education before the end of the tax year.
Eligible students must be enrolled at least half-time for at least one academic period and must be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized credential. Forms: Contributions to Coverdell ESAs are reported on Form 5498-ESA; distributions from Coverdell ESAs are reported on Form 1099-Q
Because the lifetime learning credit is smaller than the AOC, students who qualify for both credits choose the AOC. Under current law, scholarships required to be used for tuition and fees remain nontaxable when applied to tuition and fees. Scholarships that can be used to pay any expense (such as room and board) are nontaxable when spent on qualified expenses and taxable when spent on nonqualified expenses.
For this purpose, qualified expenses include; Contributions to a Coverdell ESA aren’t deductible, but amounts deposited in the account can grow tax free until distributed. There is a $2,000 annual contribution limit, and the ability to contribute is phased out when income exceeds the phaseout limit.
Because the tax reform changed a few, but not all, of the existing education benefits, this article discusses education under the TCJA.
Tax Tip: Taxpayers can continue to contribute funds to their Coverdell ESAs or start a new Coverdell ESA. The TCJA also adds a new provision that student loan debt forgiveness due to death or permanent and total disability is excludable from income.
But under tax law, it’s considered a taxable event. Taxpayers with cancelled debt often don’t have a lot of cash flow to pay tax on the income. That’s why the possibility of claiming an exclusion makes a big difference.
Education Savings Bond Exclusion Stays the Same Forms: Interest reported on Form 1099-INT; exclusion reported on Form 8815 together with Schedule B and Form 1040 or 1040A. Exclusion for Employer-Provided Education Assistance Stays the Same If you have questions about how the tax changes apply or will apply to your college plans, make an appointment with a tax professional. When distributions from a Coverdell ESA during the year are less than the beneficiary’s qualified education expenses, distributions are also tax free.
Distributions can be used for elementary, secondary, and higher education expenses.
Only the Exclusion for Student Loan Cancellation has been modified. Student Loan Interest Deduction Stays the Same The lifetime learning credit is a credit of up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for all eligible students included on the taxpayer’s tax return. There is no limit on the number of years the lifetime learning credit can be claimed, and the student does not have to enroll in a minimum number of hours to claim the credit.
Forms: Student loan interest is reported on Form 1098-E and deducted on Form 1040 or 1040NR. Student Loan Repayment Assistance Remains Forms: Schedule A filed with Form 1040; Schedule C filed with Form 1040 Education Tax Deductions and Benefits for People With Student Loans Exclusion for Student Loan Cancellations Modified
It has an income-based phaseout, and a small percentage of people do not qualify for the deduction because of the phaseout. Taxpayers who refinance their student loans generally may continue to claim the deduction. Tax Tip: Distributions from traditional IRAs are generally fully taxable in the year the distribution is made.
That’s because taxpayers often do not have any basis in their traditional IRA and the entire distribution is taxable. Taxpayers with some basis in an IRA may have a partly taxable distribution. Distributions from Roth IRAs are generally not subject to income tax.
Forms: Scholarship information may be reported on Form 1098-T or Form 1042-S; taxable scholarships are reported on Form 1040, 1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ. Tuition and Fees Deduction Has Been Extended Many students in grad school who are teaching and research assistants also receive tuition reductions. A tuition reduction (or tuition waiver) for grad school can be nontaxable if the waiver is provided by an eligible institution and the grad student performs teaching or research activities for the institution.
Forms: Form 8863 together with Form 1040 or 1040A; tuition and fees reported on Form 1098-T. Nontaxable scholarship and grant rules stay the same The TCJA eliminates the ability for employees to deduct work-related expenses as an itemized deduction on Schedule A. The primary tax reform education news here is that 529 plans may now be used for more than just college. 529 Plans Expanded The student loan interest deduction allows taxpayers to reduce their taxable income by up to $2,500. It is based on the amount of qualified student loan interest paid during the year.
That’s interest paid on a loan taken out solely to pay for qualified education expenses for a qualified student. One key requirement is that the student must be the taxpayer, spouse or dependent, and enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized credential at an eligible institution. Forms: Distributions from 529 plans are reported on Form 1099-Q.
Coverdell Education Savings Accounts Remain the Same Tax Reform Affects More Than Education Tax Credits, Deductions and Benefits: It Impacts All Life Stages Forms: Form 8917 together with Form 1040 or 1040A; tuition and fees reported on Form 1098-T. Education Exception to Early Distribution Penalty for IRAs Stays the Same
Taxpayers will also be able to rollover amounts from 529 plans into ABLE accounts. In fact, all types of unreimbursed employee business expenses are not allowed under the TCJA. This applies to work-related education expenses as well as other expenses such as uniforms, membership in professional organizations, and other ordinary and necessary employee business expenses.
Taxpayers who receive benefits through a qualified tuition reduction program can also treat their benefits as nontaxable. These programs are often offered by colleges to their employees and benefits may be extended to the spouses and dependents of employees. These programs are generally for undergraduate work.
Taxpayers enrolled less than half-time may be able to claim the lifetime learning credit. As part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the tuition and fees deduction has been made available through 2017. It is unknown if it will be extended through other legislation for 2018.
The TCJA did not make changes to the student loan interest deduction. The TCJA modifies the exclusion for cancelled student loans. To help you find the provisions that are relevant to you, we’ve grouped the information in three sections below:
In some circumstances, taxpayers may take a distribution from an IRA before reaching age 59½ and not have to pay the 10% additional tax on early withdrawals. The exception to the 10% additional tax applies if, for the year of the distribution, the taxpayer pays qualified education expenses for:
Due to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, – not the TCJA – the tuition and fees deduction was extended. The extension is through 2017, but it’s unknown if other legislation will extend the tuition and fees deduction for 2018. Read on to learn about other tax benefits.
American Opportunity Credit Stays the Same in 2018 and Beyond Tax Tip: The tuition and fees deduction is generally claimed by the same people who claimed the lifetime learning credit. However, the tuition and fees deduction has phaseouts at higher points than the lifetime learning credit, so it could be claimed by some people who did not qualify to claim the lifetime learning credit because their income was too high. Because the TCJA makes changes to the tax benefits for education, taxpayers may need to update their short-term and long-term plans for how to pay for college.
Deciding how to pay for a college education is one of the most important financial decisions individuals make. Knowing which tax benefits are now available helps taxpayers make an informed decision. For an estimate of how these changes may affect you, visit our tax return and tax reform calculator.
Tax Tip: Employees who receive this type of assistance work with their human resources to make sure they meet the program requirements and can receive nontaxable benefits. Information about these benefits may be reported in Box 14 of Form W-2. Taxable benefits are sometimes paid out (for example, if an employer pays more than the allowable yearly limit, the excess is taxable).
The value of any taxable benefits is reported in Box 1 of Form W-2 along with other types of compensation. Some forms of education could also potentially be considered a working condition fringe benefit; these types of benefits are usually excludable as well. Tax Tip: Taxpayers who want to use this provision need to plan ahead to use the exclusion.
Income from the cancellation of debt is generally subject to tax. However, there are a limited number of exceptions taxpayers can use to exclude cancelled debts from income. The TCJA left in place rules that allowed certain qualifying students to exclude cancellation of student loan debt from income.