1. American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC): The AOTC, which was called the Hope Scholarship credit in a previous reincarnation, has been extended through 2017. The maximum annual credit is $2,500. Notably, the AOTC may be claimed for every student in the family. For example, if you have two kids in college at the same time, the maximum credit for the family is $5,000. Also, the credit is currently available for four year in college. In the past, it was limited two years.

However, the AOTC for 2015 is phased out for single filers between $80,000 of

$90.000 of MAGI. The phaseout range for joint filers is between $160,000 and $180,000 of MAGI. Note that these amounts are not indexed for inflation.

2. Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC): The tax law provision for LLC is permanent, so extensions aren’t a concern. But the downside is the maximum credit is only $2,000 as opposed to the maximum $2,500 AOTC. Even worse, the maximum LLC credit applies to each taxpayer. Therefore, for those parents with two children in school at the same time, the maximum credit is still $2,000.

What’s more, the LLC is subject to phaseout rules at even lower levels than the AOTC. The phase-out range for 2015 is between $55,000 to $65,000 of MAGI for single filers and $110,000 to $130,000 for joint filers. At least these limits are indexed annually for inflation.

3. Tuition-and-fees deduction: Previously, you could claim an above-the-line deduction of $4,00 or $2,000 for tuition and related fees. (There was no in-between or other deduction amounts allowed.) The $4,000 deduction for single filers was available for a MAGI up to $65,000, while the $2,000 deduction could be claimed for an MAGI between $65,000 and $80,000. The $4,000 deduction for joint filers was limited to those with an MAGI up to $130,000. Joint filers with an MAGI between $130,000 and $160,000 could claim the $2,000 deduction.

 


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