The Lifetime Learning Credit


What is the Lifetime Learning Credit?
Who may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit?
Who may claim the Lifetime Learning Credit?
What payments may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit?
How does my 1098-T relate to the Learning Learning Credit?
How may I claim the Learning Learning Credit?


What is the Lifetime Learning Credit?

It is a federal income tax credit that:

[back to top]


Who may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit?

Students who:

Note that the Lifetime Learning Credit does not have as many enrollment requirements as the Hope Credit.  For example, you may be eligible for the Hope Credit only while you are enrolled in the first two years of college.  In contrast, there is no limit to the number of years for which you may be eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit.  The benefit is available for any and all years you paid "qualified tuition and related expenses" for postsecondary education -- including years when you were in graduate school.  See "Differences between the lifetime learning and Hope credits" in Chapter 3 of Publication 970:  Tax Benefits for Education [download] for more information.

If you enrolled and paid registration fees for at least one quarter during the tax year, then UCI probably issued a 1098-T (Tuition Payments Statement) to you.  Receiving at 1098-T does not necessarily make you eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit.  However, information on the form will help you and the IRS to determine if you qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit, or another tax benefit for education. See "Differences between the lifetime learning and Hope credits" in Chapter 3 of Publication 970:  Tax Benefits for Education [download] for more information.

[back to top]


Who may claim the Lifetime Learning Credit?

Taxpayers who:

If UCI enrollment records indicate you were an international student without a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on file at any time during the tax year, then you are assumed to be a "nonresident alien," and UCI will not routinely issue a 1098-T (Tuition Payments Statement) for you.  If needed, you may request a 1098-T for the current tax year at tra@uci.edu.  If a 1098-T subsequently is issued to you, the information on it also will be provided to the IRS.

 [back to top]


What payments may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit?

Payments that:

Payments applied to UCI registration and/or lab fees during the period of January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2004 may qualify for the Hope Credit for tax year 2004.  These payments may apply to the Winter 2004, Spring 2004, Summer 2004, Summer Session 2004, Fall 2004, or Winter 2005 quarters.

"Qualified tuition and related expenses" include fees for student associations and facilities, but do not include fees for health and/or disability insurance.  Lab fees are considered "qualified tuition and related expenses" only if they are required of all students as a condition of enrollment or attendance in the course.

[back to top]


How does my 1098-T relate to the Lifetime Learning Credit?

Your 1098-T from UCI for tax year 2004 provides the following information required by the IRS: 

Schools have the option to report either "payments received" in Box 1, or "amounts billed" in Box 2.  Since the Lifetime Learning Credit is based payments, UCI has chosen to report amounts in Box 1 as a service to our students.  This means that Box 2 will be blank on all 1098-T forms issued by UCI.  In addition, UCI does not use Box 7 ("Reimbursements or refunds of qualified tuition and related expenses from an insurance contract") because this institution is not an insurer.  You may find that other boxes on your 1098-T are blank, depending on your personal situation.

[back to top]


How may I claim the Lifetime Learning Credit?

The IRS instructs taxpayers to:

You are not required to receive a 1098-T to figure and claim a Lifetime Learning Credit.  Your personal financial records serve as the official supporting documentation for your federal income tax return.  Nevertheless, UCI is required to provide your 1098-T information to the IRS, even if you decide not to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit.

[back to top]


The information provided in this web page is NOT tax advice.  It is offered only as general information for UCI students and their families.  Please consult a qualified tax expert for advice on computing, claiming, or determining qualification for any tax benefit mentioned in this web site.


Further information is available from:

Internal Revenue Service

Internal Revenue Service
(800) 829-1040 or TTY (800) 829-4059

Education Credits
Publication 970:  Tax Benefits for Higher Education
Tax Topic 605:  Education Credits
FAQ:  Hope & Lifetime Learning Educational Credits
Tax Trail:  Education Tax Credit

FS Home | TRA Home