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# How is the amount used to calculate education deduction determined?

Turbo Tax shows qualified education expense of 26,838 but the amount entered for the field "amount used to calculate education deduction/credit" is only 8202. How is the \$8202 determined?

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New Member

## How is the amount used to calculate education deduction determined?

It is a bit complicated, but without seeing what you entered in your return, I will give you the information on how it is figured so you can compare and double check that it is correct:

Computing the credit

Step One: Computing total qualified education expenses. In order to compute the amount of the American Opportunity Tax Credit a taxpayer must first add up all his or her qualified education expenses. Generally, qualified education expenses are amounts paid during the tax year toward tuition and fees required for the student’s enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. Often an educational institution will issue to the taxpayer a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, which includes the amount of tuition a taxpayer paid for that tax year. However, the IRS has warned that this amount can differ from the amount the taxpayer actually paid. For purposes of computing the credit, the IRS directs the taxpayer to use only the tuition amounts that he or she actually paid during the tax year.

Qualified education expenses do not include costs of room and board, insurance, medical expenses (including student health fees), transportation, and other similar personal, living, or family expenses. The costs associated with courses involving sports, games, or hobbies, or any noncredit course are generally not qualified education expenses unless such course or other education is part of the student’s degree program. As we stated above, taxpayers calculating the American Opportunity Tax Credit can also include amounts spent on books, supplies, and equipment that are required for a course of study in their qualified education expenses.

Step Two: Adjusting the amount of qualified educational expenses. The taxpayer must subtract from his or her total qualified educational expenses amounts received as tax-free educational assistance received during the tax year that are allocable to the particular academic period in question. Tax-free educational assistance includes:

• The tax-free part of any scholarship or fellowship;
• The tax-free part of any employer-provided educational assistance;
• Tax-free veterans’ educational assistance, and
• Any other educational assistance that is excludable from gross income (tax free).

“Tax-free” assistance does not include a gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance. It also does not include any portion of a scholarship or fellowship that must be included in gross income.

If after making these adjustments the amount of qualified education expenses exceeds the maximum credit of \$2,500, the taxpayer can only claim \$2,500. If the amount is lower than \$2,500, the taxpayer can claim the whole amount. (Or less, if the taxpayer’s AGI is within the phase-out range. See Step Three, below.)

Step Three: Calculating any phase-out of the credit. A taxpayer whose AGI falls within the phase out ranges must reduce his or her credit amount ratably. To do this, the taxpayer should subtract his or her AGI from the top threshold amount (\$180,000 for married joint filers; \$90,000 for single filers, heads of household, and qualifying widowers). Next the taxpayer must divide the difference by either \$20,000 (married joint filers) or \$10,000 (single filers, heads of household, and qualifying widowers). The resulting quotient should be multiplied by the total amount of qualified education expenses after adjustments for tax-free educational assistance. The product of that should be subtracted from the total amount of qualified education expenses, after adjustments. The result is the amount of the American Opportunity Tax Credit the taxpayer can claim.

For example, if a single taxpayer in 2012 had \$85,670 in AGI, he or she must subtract that amount from the top threshold amount for single taxpayers (\$90,000). Then he would take the difference (\$4,330) and divide it by \$10,000. The quotient is .433, meaning the taxpayer must reduce his American Opportunity tax credit amount by 43.3 percent. If, the amount of the taxpayer’s qualified education expenses, after adjustments for scholarships, was \$1,600, then the total credit amount that he could claim would be \$891.20 because:

\$1,600 – (\$1,600 × .443) = \$891.20

Here is the TurboTax official link on Education Expenses

2 Replies
New Member

## How is the amount used to calculate education deduction determined?

It is a bit complicated, but without seeing what you entered in your return, I will give you the information on how it is figured so you can compare and double check that it is correct:

Computing the credit

Step One: Computing total qualified education expenses. In order to compute the amount of the American Opportunity Tax Credit a taxpayer must first add up all his or her qualified education expenses. Generally, qualified education expenses are amounts paid during the tax year toward tuition and fees required for the student’s enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. Often an educational institution will issue to the taxpayer a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, which includes the amount of tuition a taxpayer paid for that tax year. However, the IRS has warned that this amount can differ from the amount the taxpayer actually paid. For purposes of computing the credit, the IRS directs the taxpayer to use only the tuition amounts that he or she actually paid during the tax year.

Qualified education expenses do not include costs of room and board, insurance, medical expenses (including student health fees), transportation, and other similar personal, living, or family expenses. The costs associated with courses involving sports, games, or hobbies, or any noncredit course are generally not qualified education expenses unless such course or other education is part of the student’s degree program. As we stated above, taxpayers calculating the American Opportunity Tax Credit can also include amounts spent on books, supplies, and equipment that are required for a course of study in their qualified education expenses.

Step Two: Adjusting the amount of qualified educational expenses. The taxpayer must subtract from his or her total qualified educational expenses amounts received as tax-free educational assistance received during the tax year that are allocable to the particular academic period in question. Tax-free educational assistance includes:

• The tax-free part of any scholarship or fellowship;
• The tax-free part of any employer-provided educational assistance;
• Tax-free veterans’ educational assistance, and
• Any other educational assistance that is excludable from gross income (tax free).

“Tax-free” assistance does not include a gift, bequest, devise, or inheritance. It also does not include any portion of a scholarship or fellowship that must be included in gross income.

If after making these adjustments the amount of qualified education expenses exceeds the maximum credit of \$2,500, the taxpayer can only claim \$2,500. If the amount is lower than \$2,500, the taxpayer can claim the whole amount. (Or less, if the taxpayer’s AGI is within the phase-out range. See Step Three, below.)

Step Three: Calculating any phase-out of the credit. A taxpayer whose AGI falls within the phase out ranges must reduce his or her credit amount ratably. To do this, the taxpayer should subtract his or her AGI from the top threshold amount (\$180,000 for married joint filers; \$90,000 for single filers, heads of household, and qualifying widowers). Next the taxpayer must divide the difference by either \$20,000 (married joint filers) or \$10,000 (single filers, heads of household, and qualifying widowers). The resulting quotient should be multiplied by the total amount of qualified education expenses after adjustments for tax-free educational assistance. The product of that should be subtracted from the total amount of qualified education expenses, after adjustments. The result is the amount of the American Opportunity Tax Credit the taxpayer can claim.

For example, if a single taxpayer in 2012 had \$85,670 in AGI, he or she must subtract that amount from the top threshold amount for single taxpayers (\$90,000). Then he would take the difference (\$4,330) and divide it by \$10,000. The quotient is .433, meaning the taxpayer must reduce his American Opportunity tax credit amount by 43.3 percent. If, the amount of the taxpayer’s qualified education expenses, after adjustments for scholarships, was \$1,600, then the total credit amount that he could claim would be \$891.20 because:

\$1,600 – (\$1,600 × .443) = \$891.20

Here is the TurboTax official link on Education Expenses

Level 2

## How is the amount used to calculate education deduction determined?

I would think that to establish the \$2500 AOC credit that the Qualified Educational Expenses must be \$4000 or greater so that the two step evaluation process generated the maximum credit available. I don't understand your reasoning as to why someone with an AGI less than the phase out amount would be subject to an adjustment?
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