Back-to-School Tax Tips

Rising education costs mean clients canít pass these up

With crushing student loan debt and the skyrocketing costs of education at all levels making headlines and policy debates, the approaching start of the next school year led the folks at TaxAudit.com to put together this list of education-related tax tips.

Some will save your clients money Ė and others will save them trouble with the IRS.

School Uniforms School Uniforms

School uniforms are not deductible, even if they are required.

Private School Tuition Private School Tuition

The cost of private or parochial school tuition isnít deductible either.

Some Private School Costs, However Ö Some Private School Costs, However Ö

If you can separate the educational costs from the child care component of private school tuition, those costs may be deductible for children up to the age of 13.

Before- and After-School Care Before- and After-School Care

For a child up to the age of 13, the cost of before- or after-school care may be deducted if it is a qualifying expense. Cable bills and Barney DVDs do not qualify.

Tax Deductions for School Fundraisers are Limited Tax Deductions for School Fundraisers are Limited

There are limits here; among other things, you are required to reduce your deduction by the market value of any goods received in return for your charitable donation.

Moving Expenses for College Moving Expenses for College

These are not deductible. Going away to college is not moving for a job, so the IRS does not allow the moving expenses deduction.

Earnings in 529 Plans Earnings in 529 Plans

The earnings in 529 plans are NOT taxable for federal purposes. The money grows tax-free and withdrawals are not taxable as long as the money is used for eligible college expenses.

Tax-Deferred Accounts Tax-Deferred Accounts

You can use tax-deferred accounts (i.e., an Educational Savings Account) to pay for qualified educational expenses including books and computers, for elementary, high school and college expenses.

The American Opportunity Credit The American Opportunity Credit

The AOC can amount to $2,500 in tax credits per eligible student and is available for the first four years of post-secondary education at a qualified education institution. Up to 40% of the credit is refundable, which means that the taxpayer may be able to receive up to $1,000, even if they have no tax liability. Eligible expenses include tuition at an eligible institution, books and required supplies, but not room and board, medical expenses, insurance, etc. Income limits apply.

Lifetime Learning Credit Lifetime Learning Credit

This credit can be worth up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for a student enrolled in an eligible educational institution. It is a nonrefundable credit of 20% of a maximum $10,000 in qualified education expenses. There is currently no limit on the number of years a taxpayer can claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for an eligible student. Income limits do apply, however.

Student Loan Interest Student Loan Interest

There is a student loan interest deduction of up to $2,500 for paying interest on a student loan (also known as an education loan) used for higher education. The amount of the student loan interest deduction is gradually reduced (phased out) if the taxpayerís modified adjusted gross income is within a certain range.

Tuition and Fees Deduction Tuition and Fees Deduction

The tuition and fees deduction applies to qualified education expenses for higher education on an eligible student. The deduction gradually phases out between a certain income range until no deduction is allowed. The deduction is available for one or more qualified courses and there is no limit to the number of years the deduction can be claimed.

Source: TaxAudit.com



Most Suspicious IRS Audit Triggers

The Minnesota Society of CPAs has compiled a list of red flags that could trigger an audit from the IRS if they apply to your clients' tax returns.

View the slideshow >>


Top 7 Retention Tactics

The Top 100 Firms get creative when trying to retain top talent.

View the slideshow >>


Top 10 Recruiting Tactics

The Top 100 Firms share their best strategies.

View the slideshow >>


The Fastest-Growing Firms in the U.S.

The firms with the highest 2014 revenue growth in our Top 100 Firms/Regional Leaders list

View the slideshow >>


Where the Wealthy Go to School

Looking for rich clients? Here's a ranking of the top U.S. universities by number of ultra-wealthy alumni.

View the slideshow >>


Secrets in the 1040

7 things you can learn during tax prep to build a stronger client relationship

View the slideshow >>


The Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

The IRSís annual pick of the worst of the worst

View the slideshow >>


Most Outrageous Tax Deductions of 2015

The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants recently surveyed its CPA members in public accounting on the most outrageous tax deductions clients tried to take on their tax returns. Their responses included everything from pets and weddings to cars impounded by the police.

View the slideshow >>


Top Fraud Predictions for 2015

Technology will give fraudsters an edge in 2015, but it will also provide new tools for organizations and investigators, according to three experts from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners who were asked for their top fraud predictions for 2015.

View the slideshow >>


Are You Ready for Tax Season?

Preparing your office for the race to April 15

View the slideshow >>



Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement