Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Hope credit available for 2010. This credit is not available because the special rules for students attending school in a Midwestern disaster area have expired. For more info go to www.irs.gov/americanopportunitycredit.

Introduction
For 2010, there are two tax credits available to persons who pay expenses for higher (postsecondary) education. They are:

The American opportunity credit,   and   The lifetime learning credit.

The chapter will present an overview of these education credits. To get the detailed information you will need to claim either of the credits, and for examples illustrating that information, see chapters 2 and 3 of Publication 970.

Can you claim more than one education credit this year? For each student, you can choose for any year only one of the credits. For example, if you choose to take the American opportunity credit for a child on your 2010 tax return, you cannot, for that same child, also claim the lifetime learning credit for 2010.

If you are eligible to claim the American opportunity credit and you are also eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both.

If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to take the American opportunity and the lifetime learning credits on a per-student, per-year basis. This means that, for example, you can claim the American opportunity credit for one student and the lifetime learning credit for another student in the same year.

Do I Have To File a Return?
You must file a federal income tax return if you are a citizen or resident of the United States or a resident of Puerto Rico and you meet the filing requirements for any of the following categories that apply to you.

Individuals in general. (There are special rules for surviving spouses, executors, administrators, legal representatives, U.S. citizens and residents living outside the United States, residents of Puerto Rico, and individuals with income from U.S. possessions.)

Dependents, Certain children under age 19 or full-time students, Self employed persons, Aliens

The filing requirements for each category are explained in this chapter.
The filing requirements apply even if you do not owe tax.

Even if you do not have to file a return, it may be to your advantage to do so. See Who Should File, later.

What is Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

When Can I Expect My Refund?

If you claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC) on your tax return, the IRS must hold your refund until at least February 15 — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC.

After you file your return, the best way to track your refund is Where’s My Refund? or the IRS2Go mobile app.

Who Qualifies

Do I Qualify for EITC?

To qualify for EITC you must have earned income from working for someone or from running or owning a business or farm and meet basic rules. And, you must either meet additional rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets all the qualifying child rules for you.

EITC Assistant

Use the EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years: 2015, 2014 and 2013. The EITC Assistant helps you find out your filing status, if your child is a qualifying child, if you are eligible and estimate the amount of the EITC you may get.

Income Limits and Table

See the EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates for the current year, previous years and the upcoming tax year.   (READ MORE)