Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tax Credits Aim to Help Individuals Pay for College Education

Individuals who have filed their 2011 taxes early in an attempt to defray education costs may be wondering, "where's my return?" For starters, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reported that millions of dollars worth of tax refunds have not been delivered due to mailing address errors. Some taxpayers who have not updated their residential location are experiencing a delay in their return, which has prompted the IRS to remind citizens to update their records. According to World News Insight, approximately $7 million worth of tax refunds in Georgia were undeliverable because of mailing address issues.
Individuals can ensure a speedier refund - and no residence confusion - if they sign up for a direct deposit into their bank accounts. But for those who prefer to mail in their forms, the news provider said that it will take up to four weeks to receive refund checks. Taxpayers can check the status of their payment by visiting, clicking on "Where's my refund?" and entering some information, such as your social security number, filing status and the exact dollar amount of your refund.
Individuals who claim college tuition and student loan interest on their returns may also have to wait another month before they file their federal taxes, according to CBS News Money Watch. Due to new laws that Congress did not pass until late last year, the IRS said it will not accept certain returns until mid-February at the earliest. The news provider reports that taxpayers who claim expenses for college education are included in the group of filers who have to wait.
However, the good news is that many scholars who are paying for college credits - whether through student loans or tuition payments - are eligible for a tax break this year. According to Bloomberg, the American Opportunity Credit will provide up to $2,500 in deductions for filers who are paying for higher education. To qualify, students must be attending a college or university at least half-time. The credit can be used through the first four years of school.
According to the IRS' website, the tax credit - which is included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - covers materials for course materials, as well. Thus, students or parents who shelled out money for books last year can claim those expenses. The credit is limited to individuals who have a modified adjusted income of $80,000 or less, and married couples who earn $160,000 or less. Taxpayers who earn more are not eligible for the deduction.

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