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February 25, 2016

 
Frazer LLP
 
 

Hi There!,

If there was a college student in your family last year, you may be eligible for some valuable tax breaks on your 2015 return. To max out your education-related breaks, you need to see which ones you’re eligible for and then claim the one(s) that will provide the greatest benefit. In most cases you can take only one break per student, and, for some breaks, only one per tax return.

Credits vs. deductions

Tax credits can be especially valuable because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar; deductions reduce only the amount of income that’s taxed. A couple of credits are available for higher education expenses:

  1. The American Opportunity credit — up to $2,500 per year per student for qualifying expenses for the first four years of postsecondary education.
  2. The Lifetime Learning credit — up to $2,000 per tax return for postsecondary education expenses, even beyond the first four years.

But income-based phase-outs apply to these credits.

If you’re eligible for the American Opportunity credit, it will likely provide the most tax savings. If you’re not, the Lifetime Learning credit isn’t necessarily the best alternative.

Despite the dollar-for-dollar tax savings credits offer, you might be better off deducting up to $4,000 of qualified higher education tuition and fees. Because it’s an above-the-line deduction, it reduces your adjusted gross income, which could provide additional tax benefits. But income-based limits also apply to the tuition and fees deduction.

How much can your family save?

Note: If you don’t qualify for breaks for your child’s higher education expenses because your income is too high, your child might. Many additional rules and limits apply to the credits and deduction, however. To learn which breaks your family might be eligible for on your 2015 tax returns — and which will provide the greatest tax savings — please contact us in Brea, 714.990.1040 or Visalia, 559.732.4135, or click the button below to schedule an appointment.

Schedule An Appointment


 
 
 
 
 



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Online Tax Planning Guide

The passing of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) makes various expired tax provisions permanent and extends other expired provisions for up to five years. This makes tax planning more important than ever. To save the most, you need to not only take advantage of every tax break you’re entitled but also be prepared to act quickly if tax legislation is signed into law. This is exactly what our Tax Planning Guide is designed to help you do.

As you look through the guide, please note the strategies and tax law provisions that apply to your situation or that you would like to know more about. Then, call your Frazer LLP tax advisor with any questions you may have about these or other tax matters or click the button below.

Schedule An Appointment


 
 

Frazer LLP | 135 S. State College Blvd., Brea, CA
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