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Who is eligible to take the American Opportunity Tax Credit?

Qualifications for claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit are:

  • You paid qualified education expenses for higher education (see Related Information below)
  • You paid education expenses for eligible students
  • The eligible student is you, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption
  • Your modified adjusted gross income is $90,000 ($180,000 if married filing jointly) or less (The credit is reduced between $80,000 and $90,000 ($160,000 and $180,000)
  • You must be taking courses at an eligible education institution, which is any college, university, or vocational school with a student aid program administered by the US Department of Education.

You must be considered an eligible student:

  • You are enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized credential
  • You had at least one academic period beginning during the year
  • You did not use the American Opportunity Tax Credit for more than three previous years
  • You did not complete the first four years of post-secondary education before the beginning of the year

You are not eligible to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit if:

  • Your filing status is Married Filing Separately
  • Taxpayer is listed as a dependent on another person’s return
  • You and your spouse were non-resident aliens
  • You have a felony drug conviction

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