Updated: Dec 1, 2019
The lifetime learning credit is available for the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or the taxpayer’s dependent for an unlimited number of years. It is not based on the student’s workload. Expenses for graduate degree level courses are eligible. The maximum allowed credit is $2,000 or 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified tuition and related expenses paid for all students per tax return. The MAGI limit for claiming the LLC is $68,000 or more ($136,000 or more in the case of a joint return). MAGI in excess of $58,000 ($116,000 in the case of a joint return) reduces the credit. The Lifetime Learning Credit is a nonrefundable credit. The credit can be used to pay taxes owed, but the taxpayer will not receive any of the credit as a refund.
Who Cannot Claim the Education Credits?
The taxpayer cannot claim the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit for 2019 if any of the following apply:
The taxpayer’s filing status is Married Filing Separately;
The taxpayer is listed as a dependent in the Dependent section on another person’s tax return (such as the taxpayer’s parents);
MAGI is above the phase-out limitation.
The taxpayer (or his spouse) was a nonresident alien for any part of 2019, and the nonresident alien did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes; or
The taxpayer claims another education credit or the tuition and fees deduction for the same student in 2019.