Tax questions

February 06, 1999

Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions through April 15. Here, MACPA members answer some basic questions.

What is the Lifetime Learning Credit?

The Lifetime Learning Credit is equal to 20 percent of the first $5,000 of qualified educational expenses paid after June 30, 1998. There is a maximum of $1,000 per taxpayer return. Qualified tuition and fees for this credit include amounts paid for undergraduate or graduate-level courses, including professional degree courses. The credit is available for tuition and fees of a student who attends classes on at least a half-time basis as part of a degree or certificate program. It is also available for any course of instruction at an eligible educational institution (whether full- or less than half-time) to acquire or improve the student's job skills.

There is no limitation on the number of years a student can claim this credit, although it cannot be combined either with the Hope Credit (for the first two years of higher education) or a tax-free withdrawal from an education IRA. And, like the Hope Credit, it phases out for couples filing jointly with modified adjusted gross income between $80,000 and $100,000 and for singles with modified adjusted gross income between $40,000 and $50,000.

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary.

To ask a tax question, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at 410-783-1800. Call 410-268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 410-836-5028 in Harford County, 410-848-0338 in Carroll County. Using a Touch-Tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6225 after the greeting. You can also submit questions by e-mail through The Sun's Web site: www.sunspot.net. Click on Business.

Selected questions will be answered in the Business section. No questions will be answered personally.

Pub Date: 2/06/99

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