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How do I amend my return to correct an American Opportunity Tax Credit overpayment?

SOLVEDby TurboTax8Updated January 04, 2022

Because of an error in a TurboTax calculation, you may not have received the American Opportunity Tax Credit, resulting in a possible overpayment of your federal tax. 

We fixed the issue in TurboTax, and we want to make sure your federal and state tax returns are complete and accurate. We recommend that you check and, if necessary, amend your tax return to determine if any additional refund is due. There are no additional fees for checking your TurboTax return or for preparing an amendment. 

Check to ensure that you are eligible to take the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) before amending your tax return. 

  • To be eligible for AOTC, the student must:
    • If a child under the age of 24, must be a qualifying dependent on the taxpayer’s tax return,
    • Be pursuing a degree (undergraduate) or other recognized education credential,
    • Be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period beginning in the tax year,
    • Not have finished the first four years of higher education at the beginning of the tax year.
  • There are also income limitations:
    • To claim the full credit, your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) must be $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less for married filing jointly).
    • You receive a reduced amount of the credit if your MAGI is over $80,000 but less than $90,000 (over $160,000 but less than $180,000 for married filing jointly).
    • You cannot claim the credit if your MAGI is over $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers).
  • Finally, ensure you have a Form 1098-T from an eligible institution and have not claimed the AOTC for four years already.

We continuously strive to provide correct and accurate calculations in our TurboTax products. Sometimes that effort results in our finding errors after returns have been filed. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. If you need our help, we’ve provided contact information at the bottom of this letter. 

To amend your return in TurboTax, select your TurboTax product and follow the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Write down the original refund or balance due amount for your Federal and State, if applicable, income taxes. We recommend you check the paper/PDF copy of your return(s), or your banking records to verify the correct amount.
  2. Launch TurboTax and open your 2020 return.
  3. Before you make any changes, select File and Save As... then add Amended 2020 return to the file name to preserve your original return.
  4. Select Online and Check for Updates. Allow the program to update if any are available.
  5. Select the Federal Taxes tab, (Personal tab if you’re using Home & Business), and then select Other Tax Situations. You may be asked to answer a few preliminary questions before you see a list of categories. Scroll down to Other Tax Forms select Start next to Amend a Return.
  6. On the We’ll help you change (amend) your return screen, select Continue. Then on the Did you already file your return? screen select Yes, I have already filed my return. Then select I was contacted by TurboTax and told I may need to amend for some other reason, then select Continue.
  7. On the Tell us which returns you want to amend screen, choose 
    1. I want to amend both my Federal and state returns, if applicable. OR
    2. I want to amend only my federal or only my state return, then check Amend my federal return. 
  8. Then select Continue. Your federal and state, if applicable, refund/balance due tracker will usually reset to $0. This is normal.
  9. On the What do you need to change on your return? screen, scroll down to 1098-T(education credits) and select Update.
  10. On the Your Education Expenses Summary screen, select Continue.
  11. On the Next, We’ll See Which Deduction or Credit Will Save You the Most screen, select Maximize My Education Tax Break.
  12. On the We’re Maximizing Your Education Tax Breaks screen, select Continue, then Continue again.
  13. On the Just one last thing...screen, make your selection.
  14. On the Do you need to change anything else? screen, scroll down to the bottom and select Done.
  15. If you received unemployment, you will be asked Did you get an extra refund after you filed? select Yes or No, then select Continue.
    • NOTE: If you received the extra refund, enter the extra amount you received
  16. On the Do you still receive your mail at this address?, select Yes or No, update your address, if applicable, then select Continue
  17. On the Presidential Election Campaign, select Yes or No then select Continue.
  18. On the Special Situations on Your Amended Return, select Continue.  
  19. On the Why did you need to amend your return? enter TO CLAIM THE AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT, then select Continue.
  20. On the Let’s make sure your taxes are correct, select Continue. Review any final warnings and fix any errors. If you make any changes at this stage, be sure to run Smart Check again, until there are no new warnings to fix, then select Done.
  21. Follow the TurboTax instructions to amend your state return. 
    • NOTE: You may need to manually enter information for your state amendment.
  22. On the Run Smart Check Again, select Done.
  23. Print and Save the amended return.
    • NOTE: You may be able to efile the Federal Tax Return, please follow the onscreen instructions to file the amended return.
  24. Once your tax return has printed, you need to sign, date and mail the amended return. The mailing address and refund/balance due are included on the File by Mail Instructions for your 2020 Federal Amended Tax Return and 2020 State Amended Tax Return, if applicable. Don’t forget to save a copy for your records.
  1. Write down the original refund or balance due amount(s) for your Federal and State, if applicable, income taxes. We recommend you check the paper/PDF copy of your return, or your banking records to verify the correct amount.
  2. Log in to the TurboTax account where you prepared your 2020 return.
  3. In Tax Home, scroll down to Your tax returns & documents, and choose 2020. Select Amend (change) return and then select Amend Using TurboTax Online
    • NOTE: Check your refund/balance due on your federal return: 
  4. On the OK, let’s get a kickstart on your 2020 amended return screen, choose TurboTax sent me an email, then Continue.
  5. On the What did we contact you about? screen, choose Something else then Continue.
  6. On the Tell us which 2020 return(s) you want to amend screen, choose 
    • I want to amend both my Federal and state returns, if applicable. OR
    • I want to amend only my federal or only my state return, then check Amend my federal return.
  7. Then seelct Continue. Your federal and state, if applicable, refund/balance due tracker will usually reset to $0. This is normal.
  8. On the Here’s the info for your amended federal return screen, 
    1. If your refund/balance due amount changed, scroll down to the bottom and select Done.
    2. If your refund/balance due amount did not change, scroll down to Expenses and Scholarships (Form 1098-T) and select Start.
      1. On the Your Education Expenses Summary screen, select Continue.
      2. On the Next, We’ll See Which Deduction or Credit Will Save You the Most screen, select Maximize My Education Tax Break.
      3. On the We’re Maximizing Your Education Tax Breaks screen, select Continue, then Continue again.
      4. On the Here’s the info for your amended federal return screen, scroll down to the bottom and select Done.
  9. On the Tell us why you’re amending your return screen, enter TO CLAIM THE AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY CREDIT, then Continue.
  10. On the Did you get an extra refund after you filed? screen, answer the question regarding unemployment compensation and then select Continue.
  11. On the Let’s confirm your mailing address screen, confirm the address then select Continue.
  12. On the Do you want to designate $3 to a presidential campaign fund? screen, make your selection, then Continue.
  13. On the Do any of these less common situations apply to you? screen, select Continue then Continue again.
  14. On the Let’s comb through your returns one last time with completecheck screen, choose Check My Info. Review any final warnings and fix any errors. If you make any changes at this stage, be sure to run completecheck again, until there are no new warnings to fix. Then Continue.
    • NOTE:  You will receive a warning that We Won’t Be Able to E-file Your Return. This is normal.
  15. Follow the TurboTax instructions to amend your state return.  
    • NOTE: You may need to manually enter information for your state amendment.
  16. On the We still save a couple of things to button up screen, select Continue. You will see a screen with your amended return results. Select Continue.
  17. Print and Save the amended return.
  18. Once your tax return has printed, you need to sign, date and mail the amended return. The mailing address and refund/balance due are included on the File by Mail Instructions for your 2020 Federal Amended Tax Return and 2020 State Amended Tax Return, if applicable. Don’t forget to save a copy for your records.

We’re here to help if you have questions or need assistance. You can call us at (866) 278-9691 to reach a tax expert who is prepared to assist you with this issue. Tell the expert you’re calling about: 2020 American Opportunity Tax Credit.

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