IRS Form 8863 "Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits)"

What Is Form 8863?

IRS Form 8863, Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits), is a tax form used to claim one of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) educational tax credits. It will provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of tax owed at the end of the reporting year for the expenses incurred to attend educational institutions that participate in the student aid programs.

You can download a fillable Form 8863 through the link below. If you are looking for a more detailed breakdown of the education credits and their calculation, use the official IRS Instructions for Form 8863 - download them here.

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What Is Form 8863 Used For?

An IRS 8863 Tax Form is needed to calculate and claim education credits - you may only take one of them for the same student in the same year. Using this document, you will offset the expenses of education by covering the costs of books, tuition, and necessary school supplies and reduce the burden of paying student loan debt back, whether you or your dependent was a student. Currently, there are two education credits available:

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). It is a refundable credit - you might get a refund even if you do not owe any tax and otherwise would not file a tax return. This credit is available to eligible individuals who pursue a certain degree and are enrolled in a university or college. To qualify, your income must be $90,000 or less ($180,000 if you are married and filing jointly);
  • Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). It is nonrefundable - your tax might be reduced, but you will not be refunded any excess. You qualify for the LLC if your income is $68,000 or less ($136,000 if you are married and filing jointly). This credit offers more flexibility because it requires the student to be enrolled in at least one course during the reporting year.

Form 8863 Instructions

Follow these steps to complete the 8863 Tax Form:

  1. Start with the second page of the form to provide student and educational institution information. Indicate the student's name and social security number. State the name and address of the educational institution. If the student received IRS Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from this institution, check the appropriate boxes. Enter the institution's employer identification number;
  2. Answer questions about the previous claims and student's enrollment in an eligible educational institution. If the student was convicted of a felony for distribution or possession of a controlled substance, answer "yes";
  3. To figure out the AOTC, enter the amount of qualified education expenses (not more than $4,000) and subtract $2,000. Multiply this amount by 25% and add $2,000;
  4. To calculate the LLC, write down the total of the education expenses. To do it, you need to complete a separate worksheet from the IRS instructions;
  5. Go back to the first page, write down your name and social security number;
  6. Calculate the amount of the refundable AOTC you are eligible for. You will need to enter your adjusted gross income from the Form 1040 and confirm you meet the conditions described in the instructions;
  7. Figure out the LLC using the Credit Limit Worksheet. For the LLC, you multiply your educational expenses (up to $10,000) by 20%. You also need to enter the amount of the LLC on Schedule 3 attached to Form 1040.

When Can I File Form 8863?

To claim American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits, you need to file an 8863 Form with IRS Form 1040, Individual Income Tax Return, or Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. The mailing address depends on your state and whether you enclose the payment. You may apply for the AOTC for the first four years of higher education and get an annual credit of $2,500 for qualified expenses that include tuition. As long as the eligible student is enrolled in any educational university or any course to acquire or improve job skills, you can claim the LLC and receive up to $2,000 for educational expenses that include fees and tuition.

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Download IRS Form 8863 "Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits)"

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8863
Education Credits
OMB No. 1545-0074
(American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits)
2019
Form
Attach to Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
Department of the Treasury
Attachment
50
Go to www.irs.gov/Form8863 for instructions and the latest information.
Internal Revenue Service (99)
Sequence No.
Name(s) shown on return
Your social security number
!
Complete a separate Part III on page 2 for each student for whom you’re claiming either credit before
you complete Parts I and II.
CAUTION
Part I
Refundable American Opportunity Credit
1
1
After completing Part III for each student, enter the total of all amounts from all Parts III, line 30
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Enter: $180,000 if married filing jointly; $90,000 if single, head of household,
or qualifying widow(er)
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Enter the amount from Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 8b. If you’re filing Form
2555 or 4563, or you’re excluding income from Puerto Rico, see Pub. 970 for
the amount to enter
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Subtract line 3 from line 2. If zero or less, stop; you can’t take any education
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Enter: $20,000 if married filing jointly; $10,000 if single, head of household, or
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Multiply line 1 by line 6. Caution: If you were under age 24 at the end of the year and meet the
conditions described in the instructions, you can’t take the refundable American opportunity credit;
skip line 8, enter the amount from line 7 on line 9, and check this box .
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Refundable American opportunity credit. Multiply line 7 by 40% (0.40). Enter the amount here and
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on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 18c. Then go to line 9 below .
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Part II
Nonrefundable Education Credits
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Subtract line 8 from line 7. Enter here and on line 2 of the Credit Limit Worksheet (see instructions) .
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After completing Part III for each student, enter the total of all amounts from all Parts III, line 31. If
zero, skip lines 11 through 17, enter -0- on line 18, and go to line 19
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Enter: $136,000 if married filing jointly; $68,000 if single, head of household, or
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Enter the amount from Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 8b. If you're filing Form
2555 or 4563, or you’re excluding income from Puerto Rico, see Pub. 970 for
the amount to enter
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If line 15 is:
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Multiply line 12 by line 17. Enter here and on line 1 of the Credit Limit Worksheet (see instructions)
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Nonrefundable education credits. Enter the amount from line 7 of the Credit Limit Worksheet (see
instructions) here and on Schedule 3 (Form 1040 or 1040-SR), line 3
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19
8863
For Paperwork Reduction Act Notice, see your tax return instructions.
Form
(2019)
Cat. No. 25379M
8863
Education Credits
OMB No. 1545-0074
(American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits)
2019
Form
Attach to Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
Department of the Treasury
Attachment
50
Go to www.irs.gov/Form8863 for instructions and the latest information.
Internal Revenue Service (99)
Sequence No.
Name(s) shown on return
Your social security number
!
Complete a separate Part III on page 2 for each student for whom you’re claiming either credit before
you complete Parts I and II.
CAUTION
Part I
Refundable American Opportunity Credit
1
1
After completing Part III for each student, enter the total of all amounts from all Parts III, line 30
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2
Enter: $180,000 if married filing jointly; $90,000 if single, head of household,
or qualifying widow(er)
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Enter the amount from Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 8b. If you’re filing Form
2555 or 4563, or you’re excluding income from Puerto Rico, see Pub. 970 for
the amount to enter
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Subtract line 3 from line 2. If zero or less, stop; you can’t take any education
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credit .
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Enter: $20,000 if married filing jointly; $10,000 if single, head of household, or
qualifying widow(er)
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If line 4 is:
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Multiply line 1 by line 6. Caution: If you were under age 24 at the end of the year and meet the
conditions described in the instructions, you can’t take the refundable American opportunity credit;
skip line 8, enter the amount from line 7 on line 9, and check this box .
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Refundable American opportunity credit. Multiply line 7 by 40% (0.40). Enter the amount here and
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on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 18c. Then go to line 9 below .
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Part II
Nonrefundable Education Credits
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Subtract line 8 from line 7. Enter here and on line 2 of the Credit Limit Worksheet (see instructions) .
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After completing Part III for each student, enter the total of all amounts from all Parts III, line 31. If
zero, skip lines 11 through 17, enter -0- on line 18, and go to line 19
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Enter the smaller of line 10 or $10,000
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Enter: $136,000 if married filing jointly; $68,000 if single, head of household, or
qualifying widow(er)
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Enter the amount from Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 8b. If you're filing Form
2555 or 4563, or you’re excluding income from Puerto Rico, see Pub. 970 for
the amount to enter
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Subtract line 14 from line 13. If zero or less, skip lines 16 and 17, enter -0- on
line 18, and go to line 19
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Enter: $20,000 if married filing jointly; $10,000 if single, head of household, or
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qualifying widow(er)
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If line 15 is:
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places) .
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Multiply line 12 by line 17. Enter here and on line 1 of the Credit Limit Worksheet (see instructions)
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Nonrefundable education credits. Enter the amount from line 7 of the Credit Limit Worksheet (see
instructions) here and on Schedule 3 (Form 1040 or 1040-SR), line 3
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19
8863
For Paperwork Reduction Act Notice, see your tax return instructions.
Form
(2019)
Cat. No. 25379M
2
Form 8863 (2019)
Page
Your social security number
Name(s) shown on return
Complete Part III for each student for whom you’re claiming either the American
!
opportunity credit or lifetime learning credit. Use additional copies of page 2 as needed for
each student.
CAUTION
Part III
Student and Educational Institution Information. See instructions.
Student social security number (as shown on page 1 of
20 Student name (as shown on page 1 of your tax return)
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your tax return)
22
Educational institution information (see instructions)
a. Name of first educational institution
b. Name of second educational institution (if any)
(1) Address. Number and street (or P.O. box). City, town or
(1) Address. Number and street (or P.O. box). City, town or
post office, state, and ZIP code. If a foreign address, see
post office, state, and ZIP code. If a foreign address, see
instructions.
instructions.
(2) Did the student receive Form 1098-T
(2) Did the student receive Form 1098-T
Yes
No
Yes
No
from this institution for 2019?
from this institution for 2019?
(3) Did the student receive Form 1098-T
(3) Did the student receive Form 1098-T
from this institution for 2018 with box
Yes
No
from this institution for 2018 with box
Yes
No
7 checked?
7 checked?
(4) Enter the institution’s employer identification number (EIN)
(4) Enter the institution’s employer identification number
if you’re claiming the American opportunity credit or if you
(EIN) if you’re claiming the American opportunity credit or
checked “Yes” in (2) or (3). You can get the EIN from Form
if you checked “Yes” in (2) or (3). You can get the EIN
1098-T or from the institution.
from Form 1098-T or from the institution.
23
Has the Hope Scholarship Credit or American opportunity
Yes — Stop!
credit been claimed for this student for any 4 tax years
No — Go to line 24.
Go to line 31 for this student.
before 2019?
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Was the student enrolled at least half-time for at least one
academic period that began or is treated as having begun in
2019 at an eligible educational institution in a program
Yes — Go to line 25.
No — Stop! Go to line 31
leading towards a postsecondary degree, certificate, or
for this student.
other recognized postsecondary educational credential?
See instructions.
25
Did the student complete the first 4 years of postsecondary
Yes — Stop!
education before 2019? See instructions.
Go to line 31 for this
No — Go to line 26.
student.
26
Was the student convicted, before the end of 2019, of a
Yes — Stop!
No — Complete lines 27
felony for possession or distribution of a controlled
Go to line 31 for this
through 30 for this student.
substance?
student.
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You can't take the American opportunity credit and the lifetime learning credit for the same student in the same year. If
you complete lines 27 through 30 for this student, don’t complete line 31.
CAUTION
American Opportunity Credit
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Adjusted qualified education expenses (see instructions). Don’t enter more than $4,000 .
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Subtract $2,000 from line 27. If zero or less, enter -0- .
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If line 28 is zero, enter the amount from line 27. Otherwise, add $2,000 to the amount on line 29 and
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enter the result. Skip line 31. Include the total of all amounts from all Parts III, line 30, on Part I, line 1 .
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Lifetime Learning Credit
Adjusted qualified education expenses (see instructions). Include the total of all amounts from all Parts
31
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III, line 31, on Part II, line 10 .
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8863
Form
(2019)
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