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Arkansas State University

Tax Guide: Tax Credits

Information about federal and state taxes

Quick Note about Tax Credits

Below are a few tax credits that may be important to you.  This is by no means a complete list.  For more information about these and other tax credits, visit the IRS website.

Also, please pay attention to the qualifications for each credit (you may need to visit the IRS page or consult tax software or a professional).  Some credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and education credits may not be taken if you are filing Married Filing Separately. 

Also, some credits such as the EITC and the American Opportunity Credit may give you an increased refund even if you don't owe any taxes.  Don't overlook a credit because you don't owe taxes. 

Finally, the forms listed below are fairly common and should not affect your ability to file in any way.  Most (if not all) tax software will have these forms built in, including the free file programs, and most tax professionals should be familiar with claiming these credits.

Education Credits

Lifetime Learning Credit

If you or your dependent went to school but do not qualify for the American Opportunity Credit, you may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit.  This credit is equal to 20% of qualifying tuition and other educational expenses with a maximum of $2,000 per return.  It does not matter if you attend undergraduate or graduate school.  If you qualify for the credit, it will lessen the amount of tax you owe.  


To receive either credit, you must fill out Form 8863.


Note about education credits:

You also cannot take an education credit along with the Tuition and Fees Deduction for the same student. 

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a credit for low-to-moderate income families. The EITC can lower the tax that you owe.  Even if you don't owe any taxes, you will still receive the money as a refund.  To see if you qualify, use the IRS EITC Assistant.

For an idea if you qualify, see the income limitations below:

Claiming   Filing Single, Head of
Household or Widow
  Married filing jointly
No Children   14,340   19,680
One Child   37,870   43,210
Two Children   43,038   48,378
Three Children   46,227   51,567

Additional Credits

For a full listing of credits and deductions, please visit the IRS website at