Pursuing higher education can provide you with tax benefits that help offset the money you owe if either you, your spouse, or your dependents attended in 2016. You have two credits available: American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit.

higher education tax creditsHere are tips for knowing if these credits apply to you and how to claim them.

American Opportunity Credit

  • For: Students who actively pursued a degree or another recognized college credential at least part time and for a minimum of one academic period in 2016.
  • Worth: Benefit maximum is $2,500 per student.
  • Time Limit: Only applicable during first four years of attendance at an eligible college or vocational school.

Lifetime Learning Credit

  • For: Students who pursued any post-secondary education, including courses taken to acquire or improve job skills.
  • Worth: Benefit maximum is $2,000 per tax return, no matter how many students in your household can claim this credit.
  • Time Limit: No limit on the number of years you can claim this credit.

Other qualifying factors may apply, and you can learn more on the IRS website. When filing taxes, claim your credits using Form 8863. And discuss specific details with your tax adviser.