How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask PDtax Your Own Question
PDtax, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 4552
Experience:  35 years tax experience, including four years at a Big 4 firm.
Type Your Tax Question Here...
PDtax is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Re: Education deduction/credits Taxpayer is 65 and is an

This answer was rated:

Re: Education deduction/credits

Taxpayer is 65 and is an RN but only associate degree not 4 yr degree.

She needs to take classes each year or two to stay certified. Some of these classes are at college medical centers that offer classes. For example, one class is called ACLS - Advanced life support. You need this for any ER job and to stay hired. These classes can be expensive $400+.

Using turbo tax it appears I can claim some education credits for certificates/etc. These are certificate classes to stay certified. Would she qualify for lifetime earning credit for example?

PDtax :

Hi from Just Answer. is a link to the IRS publication covering the lifetime learning credit.

PDtax :

good afternoon.

PDtax :

These expenses are the kind of costs the credit was created for. The lifetime learning credit has a few requirements, such as, from the publication: Who Can Claim the Credit

Generally, you can claim the lifetime learning credit if all three of the following requirements are met.

You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.

You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.

The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

Table 3-1.Overview of the Lifetime Learning Credit
Maximum credit Up to $2,000 credit per return
Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) $122,000 if married filling jointly;
$61,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
Refundable or nonrefundable Nonrefundable—credit limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your taxable income
Number of years of postsecondary education Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills
Number of tax years credit available Available for an unlimited number of years
Type of degree required Student does not need to be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential
Number of courses Available for one or more courses
Felony drug conviction Felony drug convictions are permitted
Qualified expenses Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance (including amounts required to be paid to the institution for course-related books, supplies, and equipment)
Payments for academic periods Payments made in 2011 for academic periods beginning in 2011 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2012

PDtax :

Also, from the same publication, What Expenses Qualify

The lifetime learning credit is based on qualified education expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return. Generally, the credit is allowed for qualified education expenses paid in 2011 for an academic period beginning in 2011 or in the first 3 months of 2012.

For example, if you paid $1,500 in December 2011 for qualified tuition for the spring 2012 semester beginning in January 2012, you may be able to use that $1,500 in figuring your 2011 credit.
Academic period. An academic period includes a semester, trimester, quarter, or other period of study (such as a summer school session) as reasonably determined by an educational institution. In the case of an educational institution that uses credit hours or clock hours and does not have academic terms, each payment period can be treated as an academic period.

Paid with borrowed funds. You can claim a lifetime learning credit for qualified education expenses paid with the proceeds of a loan. You use the expenses to figure the lifetime learning credit for the year in which the expenses are paid, not the year in which the loan is repaid. Treat loan payments sent directly to the educational institution as paid on the date the institution credits the student's account.

Student withdraws from class(es). You can claim a lifetime learning credit for qualified education expenses not refunded when a student withdraws.

Qualified Education Expenses

For purposes of the lifetime learning credit, qualified education expenses are tuition and certain related expenses required for enrollment in a course at an eligible educational institution. The course must be either part of a postsecondary degree program or taken by the student to acquire or improve job skills.
Eligible educational institution. An eligible educational institution is any college, university, vocational school, or other postsecondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. It includes virtually all accredited public, nonprofit, and proprietary (privately owned profit-making) postsecondary institutions. The educational institution should be able to tell you if it is an eligible educational institution.

Certain educational institutions located outside the United States also participate in the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs.

Related expenses. Student-activity fees and expenses for course-related books, supplies, and equipment are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees and expenses must be paid to the institution for the enrollment or attendance.

In the following examples, assume that each student is an eligible student at an eligible educational institution.
Example 1. Jackson is a sophomore in University V's degree program in dentistry. This year, in addition to tuition, he is required to pay a fee to the university for the rental of the dental equipment he will use in this program. Because the equipment rental fee must be paid to University V for enrollment and attendance, Jackson's equipment rental fee is a qualified expense.

Example 2. Donna and Charles, both first-year students at College W, are required to have certain books and other reading materials to use in their mandatory first-year classes. The college has no policy about how students should obtain these materials, but any student who purchases them from College W's bookstore will receive a bill directly from the college. Charles bought his books from a friend, so what he paid for them is not a qualified education expense. Donna bought hers at College W's bookstore. Although Donna paid College W directly for her first-year books and materials, her payment is not a qualified expense because the books and materials are not required to be purchased from College W for enrollment or attendance at the institution.

Example 3. When Marci enrolled at College X for her freshman year, she had to pay a separate student activity fee in addition to her tuition. This activity fee is required of all students, and is used solely to fund on-campus organizations and activities run by students, such as the student newspaper and student government. No portion of the fee covers personal expenses. Although labeled as a student activity fee, the fee is required for Marci's enrollment and attendance at College X. Therefore, it is a qualified expense.

PDtax :

Expert again... I believe the expenses you mention qualify for the lifetime learning credit. Other than some income requirements, the allowable costs are pretty liberal, and that continuing education should qualify no problem.

PDtax :

Please review the response, and print out the publication if you need more information. Thanks for asking at Just Answer. If I answered your question, please leave positive feedback when you close out your question.


ok. one thing that made me question the deduction was the following: I heard CPA review courses/exam or BAR review courses/exam fees don't qualify for any deduction/credit. So I'm having difficultly determining the cut off line.


PDtax :

those costs qualify you for a new profession. continuing education costs are for an existing job.


good point. i always thought it was weird a snr acct gets CPA license and they say it's a new profession but the person can just sit there doing the same work. okay thanks.


PDtax :

Trust me, I couldn't deduct the CPA review course. If this answers your question, please leave positive feedback, and thanks from Just Answer.

PDtax :

I am being called away. Is there anything else?

PDtax and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you