Plan For College

Friday, March 28, 2014

Last-Minute Tax Breaks for Tuition-Paying Parents

April 15th is just a few weeks away. So if you're a last-minute, cramming tax payer... you may want to known about some tax credits and deductions that can help you save on the big college tuition bill you've been paying. Here are four tax breaks (with more in-depth articles in the links) you can take advantage of while filing your taxes for 2013:

1. American Opportunity Tax Credit

Households earning up to $160,000 can get a tax credit of $2,500 for each student, for up to four years. This applies to students who are pursuing a college degree or certificate. NASFAA (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) came out with their list of tax credits and tax deductions for the tax year of 2013. You can learn more about the American Opportunity Tax Credit over on its site.

2. Lifetime Learning

You can claim 20% of your out-of-pocket costs (up to $10,000) for tuition, fees, and books. The maximum credit you can earn in a year is $2,000. You can claim this for any type of student in the household. It doesn't have to be just undergraduates. You can learn more on Kiplinger's website.

3. Deduction for Student-loan interest

You can deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest if you, your spouse, or a dependent is enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Like the other credits and deductions, there are income limitations. On top of that, the person paying for the loan is the only one who can claim the deduction (so your child cannot claim it on his or her return if they aren't footing the bill). You can learn more at

4. Tuition and fees deduction

This deduction can reduce your income subject to tax up to $4,000. You can learn more on the IRS's website.

So if you're sneaking in your taxes just before the April 15th deadline, then make sure you are making the most of your tax credits and deductions for college tuition.

Want to make sure all of your kids are on track? 
Download our free, 15-page college planning timeline.


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  5. Agree, this information is really useful...But for tuition-paying parents that sounds a bit confusing

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  10. I am glad that our country has such a wonderful tax system! I mean these tax breaks can really help students get into college without breaking the bank. Although I would love to see a program that would support the students in such a way that by their graduation they or their family are not in debt because of the studying. I mean wouldn't it break to let people out of college without a baggage behind their backs.

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  13. You may be able to deduct qualified education expenses paid during the year for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return.