educational expenses


A

Arvind

Hi,

My wife is going to school for her Ph.D.. I have a few questions on
how I can get a tax credit for these expenses and would appreciate any
feedback.

1. We paid around $6K in fees. Can we get a deduction bigger than the
usual $4K deduction?

2. She has to travel around 50 miles everyday as part of her training
to a center that provides support to juveniles who have run into
trouble with the law. She is not paid for this. Is there any way to
claim this expense as a deduction if we use standardized deduction?

Thanks,
Arvind
 
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R

removeps-groups

My wife is going to school for her Ph.D..  I have a few questions on
how I can get a tax credit for these expenses and would appreciate any
feedback.

1. We paid around $6K in fees.  Can we get a deduction bigger than the
usual $4K deduction?
The deduction is 4k. Additionally, if your income is is >130k and
<=160k then the deduction is 2k. Above that the deduction is zero.

There is also the lifetime learning credit, which is 20% of the
tuition (up to a limit), although it is phased out gradually from 100k
to 120k. But the credit is 40% in a mid-western disaster area.

2. She has to travel around 50 miles everyday as part of her training
to a center that provides support to juveniles who have run into
trouble with the law.  She is not paid for this.  Is there any way to
claim this expense as a deduction if we use standardized deduction?
If the course is required to improve her skills at her existing job or
is required by her employer, is is allowed as a misc itemized
deduction on Schedule A subject to the 2% of AGI limit and AMT.
http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513.html. I would venture that the
driving expenses are also allowed -- although you would have to use
actual expenses. Of course, it might be better to deduct the tuition
as the lifetime learning credit or tuition and fees deduction, and the
driving expenses on Schedule A.

It's kind of odd, because if you pay more to the school and they
provide free shuttle service, the tuition would be allowed for the
credit/deduction, so it's as if the driving is allowed for the credit/
deduction in this case.
 

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