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2011taxes

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2011taxes

2011taxes 2. 2011taxes   American Opportunity Credit Table of Contents Introduction Can You Claim the CreditWho Can Claim the Credit Who Cannot Claim the Credit What Expenses QualifyQualified Education Expenses No Double Benefit Allowed Expenses That Do Not Qualify Who Is an Eligible StudentException. 2011taxes Who Can Claim a Dependent's Expenses Figuring the CreditEffect of the Amount of Your Income on the Amount of Your Credit Refundable Part of Credit Claiming the Credit Introduction For 2013, there are two tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education by reducing the amount of your income tax. 2011taxes They are the American opportunity credit (this chapter) and the lifetime learning credit ( chapter 3 ). 2011taxes This chapter explains: Who can claim the American opportunity credit, What expenses qualify for the credit, Who is an eligible student, Who can claim a dependent's expenses, How to figure the credit, How to claim the credit, and When the credit must be repaid. 2011taxes What is the tax benefit of the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes   For the tax year, you may be able to claim an American opportunity credit of up to $2,500 for qualified education expenses paid for each eligible student. 2011taxes   A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you may have to pay. 2011taxes Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a credit directly reduces the tax itself. 2011taxes Forty percent of the American opportunity credit may be refundable. 2011taxes This means that if the refundable portion of your credit is more than your tax, the excess will be refunded to you. 2011taxes   Your allowable American opportunity credit may be limited by the amount of your income. 2011taxes Also, the nonrefundable part of the credit may be limited by the amount of your tax. 2011taxes Overview of the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes   See Table 2-1, Overview of the American Opportunity Credit , for the basics of this credit. 2011taxes The details are discussed in this chapter. 2011taxes Can you claim more than one education credit this year. 2011taxes   For each student, you can elect for any year only one of the credits. 2011taxes For example, if you elect to take the American opportunity credit for a child on your 2013 tax return, you cannot use that same child's qualified education expenses to figure the lifetime learning credit for 2013. 2011taxes   If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to take the American opportunity credit on a per-student, per-year basis. 2011taxes If you pay qualified education expenses for a student (or students) for whom you do not claim the American opportunity credit, you can use the adjusted qualified education expenses of that student (or those students) in figuring your lifetime learning credit. 2011taxes This means that, for example, you can claim the American opportunity credit for one student and the lifetime learning credit for another student in the same year. 2011taxes Differences between the American opportunity and lifetime learning credits. 2011taxes   There are several differences between these two credits. 2011taxes For example, you can claim the American opportunity credit based on the same student's expenses for no more than 4 tax years, which includes any tax years you claimed the Hope Scholarship Credit for that student. 2011taxes However, there is no limit on the number of years for which you can claim a lifetime learning credit based on the same student's expenses. 2011taxes The differences between these credits are shown in Appendix B, Highlights of Education Tax Benefits for Tax Year 2013 near the end of this publication. 2011taxes If you claim the American opportunity credit for any student, you can choose between using that student's adjusted qualified education expenses for the American opportunity credit or the lifetime learning credit. 2011taxes If you have the choice, the American opportunity credit will always be greater than the lifetime learning credit. 2011taxes Table 2-1. 2011taxes Overview of the American Opportunity Credit Maximum credit Up to $2,500 credit per eligible student Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) $180,000 if married filing jointly; $90,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) Refundable or nonrefundable 40% of credit may be refundable; the rest is nonrefundable Number of years of postsecondary education Available ONLY if the student had not completed the first 4 years of postsecondary education before 2013 Number of tax years credit available Available ONLY for 4 tax years per eligible student (including any year(s) Hope Scholarship Credit was claimed) Type of program required Student must be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized education credential Number of courses Student must be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period that begins during the tax year Felony drug conviction As of the end of 2013, the student had not been convicted of a felony for possessing or distributing a controlled substance Qualified expenses Tuition, required enrollment fees, and course materials that the student needs for a course of study whether or not the materials are bought at the educational institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance Payments for academic periods Payments made in 2013 for academic periods beginning in 2013 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2014 Can You Claim the Credit The following rules will help you determine if you are eligible to claim the American opportunity credit on your tax return. 2011taxes Who Can Claim the Credit Generally, you can claim the American opportunity credit if all three of the following requirements are met. 2011taxes You pay qualified education expenses of higher education. 2011taxes You pay the education expenses for an eligible student. 2011taxes The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return. 2011taxes Student qualifications. 2011taxes   Generally, you can take the American opportunity credit for a student only if all of the following four requirements are met. 2011taxes As of the beginning of 2013, the student had not completed the first four years of postsecondary education (generally, the freshman through senior years of college), as determined by the eligible educational institution. 2011taxes For this purpose, do not include academic credit awarded solely because of the student's performance on proficiency examinations. 2011taxes Neither the American opportunity credit nor the Hope Scholarship Credit has been claimed (by you or anyone else) for this student for any four tax years before 2013. 2011taxes If the American opportunity credit (and Hope Scholarship Credit) has been claimed for this student for any three or fewer tax years before 2013, this requirement is met. 2011taxes For at least one academic period beginning (or treated as beginning) in 2013, the student both: Was enrolled in a program that leads to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential; and Carried at least one-half the normal full-time workload for his or her course of study. 2011taxes The standard for what is half of the normal full-time work load is determined by each eligible educational institution. 2011taxes However, the standard may not be lower than any of those established by the U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes Department of Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965. 2011taxes For purposes of whether the student satisfies this third requirement for 2013, treat an academic period beginning in the first three months of 2014 as if it began in 2013 if qualified education expenses for the student were paid in 2013 for that academic period. 2011taxes See Prepaid expenses, later. 2011taxes As of the end of 2013, the student had not been convicted of a federal or state felony for possessing or distributing a controlled substance. 2011taxes Example 1. 2011taxes Sharon was eligible for the Hope Scholarship Credit for 2007 and 2008 and for the American opportunity credit for 2010 and 2012. 2011taxes Her parents claimed the Hope Scholarship Credit for Sharon on their tax returns for 2007 and 2008 and claimed the American opportunity credit for Sharon on their 2010 tax return. 2011taxes Sharon claimed the American opportunity credit on her 2012 tax return. 2011taxes The American opportunity credit and Hope Scholarship Credit have been claimed for Sharon for four tax years before 2013. 2011taxes Therefore, the American opportunity credit cannot be claimed by Sharon for 2013. 2011taxes If Sharon were to file Form 8863 for 2013, she would check “Yes” for Part III, line 23, and would be eligible to claim only the lifetime learning credit. 2011taxes Example 2. 2011taxes Wilbert was eligible for the American opportunity credit for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. 2011taxes His parents claimed the American opportunity credit for Wilbert on their tax returns for 2009, 2010, and 2011. 2011taxes No one claimed an American opportunity credit or Hope Scholarship Credit for Wilbert for any other tax year. 2011taxes The American opportunity credit and Hope Scholarship Credit have been claimed for Wilbert for only three tax years before 2013. 2011taxes Therefore, Wilbert meets the second requirement to be eligible for the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes If Wilbert were to file Form 8863 for 2013, he would check “No” for Part III, line 23. 2011taxes If Wilbert meets all of the other requirements, he is eligible for the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Example 3. 2011taxes Glenda enrolls on a full-time basis in a degree program for the 2014 Spring semester, which begins in January 2014. 2011taxes Glenda pays her tuition for the 2014 Spring semester in December 2013. 2011taxes Because the tuition Glenda paid in 2013 relates to an academic period that begins in the first 3 months of 2014, her eligibility to claim an American opportunity credit in 2013 is determined as if the 2014 Spring semester began in 2013. 2011taxes If the requirements above are not met for any student, you cannot take the American opportunity credit for that student. 2011taxes You may be able to take the lifetime learning credit for part or all of that student's qualified education expenses instead. 2011taxes Note. 2011taxes Qualified education expenses paid by a dependent for whom you claim an exemption, or by a third party for that dependent, are considered paid by you. 2011taxes “Qualified education expenses” are defined later under Qualified Education Expenses . 2011taxes “Eligible students” are defined later under Who Is an Eligible Student . 2011taxes A dependent for whom you claim an exemption is defined later under Who Can Claim a Dependent's Expenses . 2011taxes You may find Figure 2-1, Can You Claim the American Opportunity Credit for 2013 , later, helpful in determining if you can claim an American opportunity credit on your tax return. 2011taxes This image is too large to be displayed in the current screen. 2011taxes Please click the link to view the image. 2011taxes Figure 2-1 Can you claim the American opportunity credit for 2012? Who Cannot Claim the Credit You cannot claim the American opportunity credit for 2013 if any of the following apply. 2011taxes Your filing status is married filing separately. 2011taxes You are listed as a dependent on another person's tax return (such as your parents'). 2011taxes See Who Can Claim a Dependent's Expenses , later. 2011taxes Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $90,000 or more ($180,000 or more in the case of a joint return). 2011taxes MAGI is explained later under Effect of the Amount of Your Income on the Amount of Your Credit . 2011taxes You (or your spouse) were a nonresident alien for any part of 2013 and the nonresident alien did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. 2011taxes More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Publication 519, U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes Tax Guide for Aliens. 2011taxes What Expenses Qualify The American opportunity credit is based on adjusted qualified education expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return. 2011taxes Generally, the credit is allowed for adjusted qualified education expenses paid in 2013 for an academic period beginning in 2013 or beginning in the first three months of 2014. 2011taxes For example, if you paid $1,500 in December 2013 for qualified tuition for the spring 2014 semester beginning January 2014, you can use that $1,500 in figuring your 2013 credit. 2011taxes Academic period. 2011taxes   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. 2011taxes 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. 2011taxes Paid with borrowed funds. 2011taxes   You can claim an American opportunity credit for qualified education expenses paid with the proceeds of a loan. 2011taxes Use the expenses to figure the American opportunity credit for the year in which the expenses are paid, not the year in which the loan is repaid. 2011taxes Treat loan payments sent directly to the educational institution as paid on the date the institution credits the student's account. 2011taxes Student withdraws from class(es). 2011taxes   You can claim an American opportunity credit for qualified education expenses not refunded when a student withdraws. 2011taxes Qualified Education Expenses For purposes of the American opportunity credit, qualified education expenses are tuition and certain related expenses required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. 2011taxes Eligible educational institution. 2011taxes   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. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes Department of Education. 2011taxes It includes virtually all accredited public, nonprofit, and proprietary (privately owned profit-making) postsecondary institutions. 2011taxes The educational institution should be able to tell you if it is an eligible educational institution. 2011taxes   Certain educational institutions located outside the United States also participate in the U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs. 2011taxes Related expenses. 2011taxes   Student-activity fees are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. 2011taxes   However, expenses for books, supplies, and equipment needed for a course of study are included in qualified education expenses whether or not the materials are purchased from the educational institution. 2011taxes Prepaid expenses. 2011taxes   Qualified education expenses paid in 2013 for an academic period that begins in the first three months of 2014 can be used in figuring an education credit for 2013 only. 2011taxes See Academic period, earlier. 2011taxes For example, if you pay $2,000 in December 2013, for qualified tuition for the 2014 winter quarter that begins in January 2014, you can use that $2,000 in figuring an education credit for 2013 only (if you meet all the other requirements). 2011taxes    You cannot use any amount you paid in 2012 or 2014 to figure the qualified education expenses you use to figure your 2013 education credit(s). 2011taxes   In the following examples, assume that each student is an eligible student at an eligible educational institution. 2011taxes Example 1. 2011taxes Jefferson is a sophomore in University V's degree program in dentistry. 2011taxes 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. 2011taxes Because the equipment rental is needed for his course of study, Jefferson's equipment rental fee is a qualified expense. 2011taxes Example 2. 2011taxes Grace and William, 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. 2011taxes 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. 2011taxes William bought his books from a friend; Grace bought hers at College W's bookstore. 2011taxes Both are qualified education expenses for the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Example 3. 2011taxes When Kelly enrolled at College X for her freshman year, she had to pay a separate student activity fee in addition to her tuition. 2011taxes 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 the student government. 2011taxes No portion of the fee covers personal expenses. 2011taxes Although labeled as a student activity fee, the fee is required for Kelly's enrollment and attendance at College X and is a qualified expense. 2011taxes No Double Benefit Allowed You cannot do any of the following. 2011taxes Deduct higher education expenses on your income tax return (as, for example, a business expense) and also claim an American opportunity credit based on those same expenses. 2011taxes Claim an American opportunity credit in the same year that you are claiming a tuition and fees deduction for the same student. 2011taxes Claim an American opportunity credit for any student and use any of that student's expenses in figuring your lifetime learning credit. 2011taxes Figure the tax-free portion of a distribution from a Coverdell education savings account (ESA) or qualified tuition program (QTP) using the same expenses you used to figure the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes See Coordination With American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits in chapter 7, Coverdell Education Savings Account, and Coordination With American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits in chapter 8, Qualified Tuition Program. 2011taxes Claim a credit based on qualified education expenses paid with tax-free educational assistance, such as a scholarship, grant, or assistance provided by an employer. 2011taxes See Adjustments to Qualified Education Expenses, next. 2011taxes Adjustments to Qualified Education Expenses For each student, reduce the qualified education expenses paid by or on behalf of that student under the following rules. 2011taxes The result is the amount of adjusted qualified education expenses for each student. 2011taxes Tax-free educational assistance. 2011taxes   For tax-free educational assistance received in 2013, reduce the qualified educational expenses for each academic period by the amount of tax-free educational assistance allocable to that academic period. 2011taxes See Academic period, earlier. 2011taxes   Some tax-free educational assistance received after 2013 may be treated as a refund of qualified education expenses paid in 2013. 2011taxes This tax-free educational assistance is any tax-free educational assistance received by you or anyone else after 2013 for qualified education expenses paid on behalf of a student in 2013 (or attributable to enrollment at an eligible educational institution during 2013). 2011taxes   If this tax-free educational assistance is received after 2013 but before you file your 2013 income tax return, see Refunds received after 2013 but before your income tax return is filed, later. 2011taxes If this tax-free educational assistance is received after 2013 and after you file your 2013 income tax return, see Refunds received after 2013 and after your income tax return is filed, later. 2011taxes   Tax-free educational assistance includes: The tax-free parts of scholarships and fellowships (see Tax-Free Scholarships and Fellowships in chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Tuition Reductions), Pell grants (see Pell Grants and Other Title IV Need-Based Education Grants in chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Tuition Reductions). 2011taxes Employer-provided educational assistance (see chapter 11, Employer-Provided Educational Assistance ), Veterans' educational assistance (see Veterans' Benefits in chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Tuition Reductions), and Any other nontaxable (tax-free) payments (other than gifts or inheritances) received as educational assistance. 2011taxes Generally, any scholarship or fellowship is treated as tax free. 2011taxes However, a scholarship or fellowship is not treated as tax free to the extent the student includes it in gross income (if the student is required to file a tax return for the year the scholarship or fellowship is received) and either of the following is true. 2011taxes The scholarship or fellowship (or any part of it) must be applied (by its terms) to expenses (such as room and board) other than qualified education expenses as defined in Qualified education expenses in chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Tuition Reductions. 2011taxes The scholarship or fellowship (or any part of it) may be applied (by its terms) to expenses (such as room and board) other than qualified education expenses as defined in Qualified education expenses in chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Tuition Reductions. 2011taxes You may be able to increase the combined value of an education credit and certain educational assistance if the student includes some or all of the educational assistance in income in the year it is received. 2011taxes For examples, see Coordination with Pell grants and other scholarships, later. 2011taxes Refunds. 2011taxes   A refund of qualified education expenses may reduce adjusted qualified education expenses for the tax year or require repayment (recapture) of a credit claimed in an earlier year. 2011taxes Some tax-free educational assistance received after 2013 may be treated as a refund. 2011taxes See Tax-free educational assistance, earlier. 2011taxes Refunds received in 2013. 2011taxes   For each student, figure the adjusted qualified education expenses for 2013 by adding all the qualified education expenses for 2013 and subtracting any refunds of those expenses received from the eligible educational institution during 2013. 2011taxes Refunds received after 2013 but before your income tax return is filed. 2011taxes   If anyone receives a refund after 2013 of qualified education expenses paid on behalf of a student in 2013 and the refund is paid before you file an income tax return for 2013, the amount of qualified education expenses for 2013 is reduced by the amount of the refund. 2011taxes Refunds received after 2013 and after your income tax return is filed. 2011taxes   If anyone receives a refund after 2013 of qualified education expenses paid on behalf of a student in 2013 and the refund is paid after you file an income tax return for 2013, you may need to repay some or all of the credit. 2011taxes See Credit recapture, next. 2011taxes Credit recapture. 2011taxes    If any tax-free educational assistance for the qualified education expenses paid in 2013, or any refund of your qualified education expenses paid in 2013, is received after you file your 2013 income tax return, you must recapture (repay) any excess credit. 2011taxes You do this by refiguring the amount of your adjusted qualified education expenses for 2013 by reducing the expenses by the amount of the refund or tax-free educational assistance. 2011taxes You then refigure your education credit(s) for 2013 and figure the amount by which your 2013 tax liability would have increased if you claimed the refigured credit(s). 2011taxes Include that amount as an additional tax for the year the refund or tax-free assistance was received. 2011taxes Example. 2011taxes   You paid $7,000 tuition and fees in August 2013, and your child began college in September 2013. 2011taxes You filed your 2013 tax return on February 17, 2014, and claimed an American opportunity credit of $2,500. 2011taxes After you filed your return, you received a refund of $4,000. 2011taxes You must refigure your 2013 American opportunity credit using $3,000 of qualified education expenses instead of $7,000. 2011taxes The refigured credit is $2,250. 2011taxes The increase to your tax liability is also $250. 2011taxes Include the difference of $250 as additional tax on your 2014 tax return. 2011taxes See the instructions for your 2014 income tax return to determine where to include this tax. 2011taxes If you pay qualified education expenses in 2014 for an academic period that begins in the first 3 months of 2014 and you receive tax-free educational assistance, or a refund, as described above, you may choose to reduce your qualified education expenses for 2014 instead of reducing your expenses for 2013. 2011taxes Amounts that do not reduce qualified education expenses. 2011taxes   Do not reduce qualified education expenses by amounts paid with funds the student receives as: Payment for services, such as wages, A loan, A gift, An inheritance, or A withdrawal from the student's personal savings. 2011taxes   Do not reduce the qualified education expenses by any scholarship or fellowship reported as income on the student's tax return in the following situations. 2011taxes The use of the money is restricted, by the terms of the scholarship or fellowship, to costs of attendance (such as room and board) other than qualified education expenses as defined in Qualified education expenses in chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Tuition Reductions. 2011taxes The use of the money is not restricted. 2011taxes Example 1. 2011taxes Joan paid $3,000 for tuition and $5,000 for room and board at University X. 2011taxes The university did not require her to pay any fees in addition to her tuition in order to enroll in or attend classes. 2011taxes To help pay these costs, she was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and a $4,000 student loan. 2011taxes The terms of the scholarship state that it can be used to pay any of Joan's college expenses. 2011taxes University X applies the $2,000 scholarship against Joan's $8,000 total bill, and Joan pays the $6,000 balance of her bill from University X with a combination of her student loan and her savings. 2011taxes Joan does not report any portion of the scholarship as income on her tax return. 2011taxes In figuring the amount of either education credit (American opportunity or lifetime learning), Joan must reduce her qualified education expenses by the amount of the scholarship ($2,000) because she excluded the entire scholarship from her income. 2011taxes The student loan is not tax-free educational assistance, so she does not need to reduce her qualified expenses by any part of the loan proceeds. 2011taxes Joan is treated as having paid $1,000 in qualified education expenses ($3,000 tuition – $2,000 scholarship). 2011taxes Example 2. 2011taxes The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that Joan reports her entire scholarship as income on her tax return. 2011taxes Because Joan reported the entire $2,000 scholarship in her income, she does not need to reduce her qualified education expenses. 2011taxes Joan is treated as having paid $3,000 in qualified education expenses. 2011taxes Coordination with Pell grants and other scholarships. 2011taxes   In some cases, you may be able to reduce your tax liability by including scholarships in income. 2011taxes If you are claiming an education credit for a claimed dependent who received a scholarship, you may be able to reduce your tax liability if the student includes the scholarship in income. 2011taxes The scholarship must be one that may (by its terms) be applied to expenses (such as room and board) other than qualified education expenses. 2011taxes Example 1—No scholarship. 2011taxes Bill Pass, age 28 and unmarried, enrolled full-time in 2013 as a first-year student at a local college to earn a degree in law enforcement. 2011taxes This was his first year of postsecondary education. 2011taxes During 2013, he paid $5,600 for his qualified education expenses and $4,400 for his room and board for the fall 2013 semester. 2011taxes He and the college meet all the requirements for the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Bill's AGI and his MAGI, for purposes of figuring his credit, are $30,000. 2011taxes Bill takes the standard deduction of $5,950 and personal exemption of $3,800, reducing his AGI to taxable income of $20,250. 2011taxes His income tax liability, before credits, is $2,599 and Bill claims no credits other than the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes He figures his American opportunity credit based on qualified education expenses of $4,000, which results in a credit of $2,500 and tax after credits of $99. 2011taxes Example 2—Scholarship excluded from income. 2011taxes The facts are the same as in Example 1—No scholarship, except that Bill was awarded a $5,600 scholarship. 2011taxes Under the terms of his scholarship, it may be used to pay any educational expenses, including room and board. 2011taxes If Bill excludes the scholarship from income, he will be deemed (for purposes of computing his education credit) to have used the scholarship to pay for tuition, required fees, and course materials. 2011taxes His adjusted qualified education expenses will be zero and he will not have an education credit. 2011taxes Therefore, Bill's tax after credits would be $2,599. 2011taxes Example 3—Scholarship partially included in income. 2011taxes The facts are the same as in Example 2—Scholarship excluded from income. 2011taxes If, unlike Example 2, Bill includes $4,000 of the scholarship in income, he will be deemed to have used that amount to pay for room and board. 2011taxes The remaining $1,600 of the $5,600 scholarship will reduce his qualified education expenses and his adjusted qualified education expenses will be $4,000. 2011taxes Bill's AGI will increase to $34,000, his taxable income will increase to $24,250, and his tax before credits will increase to $3,199. 2011taxes Based on his adjusted qualified education expenses of $4,000, Bill would be able to claim an American opportunity tax credit of $2,500 and his tax after credits would be $699. 2011taxes Expenses That Do Not Qualify Qualified education expenses do not include amounts paid for: Insurance, Medical expenses (including student health fees), Room and board, Transportation, or Similar personal, living, or family expenses. 2011taxes This is true even if the amount must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. 2011taxes Sports, games, hobbies, and noncredit courses. 2011taxes   Qualified education expenses generally do not include expenses that relate to any course of instruction or other education that involves sports, games or hobbies, or any noncredit course. 2011taxes However, if the course of instruction or other education is part of the student's degree program, these expenses can qualify. 2011taxes Comprehensive or bundled fees. 2011taxes   Some eligible educational institutions combine all of their fees for an academic period into one amount. 2011taxes If you do not receive or do not have access to an allocation showing how much you paid for qualified education expenses and how much you paid for personal expenses, such as those listed earlier, contact the institution. 2011taxes The institution is required to make this allocation and provide you with the amount you paid (or were billed) for qualified education expenses on Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement. 2011taxes See Figuring the Credit , later, for more information about Form 1098-T. 2011taxes Who Is an Eligible Student To claim the American opportunity credit, the student for whom you pay qualified education expenses must be an eligible student. 2011taxes This is a student who meets all of the following requirements. 2011taxes The student did not have expenses that were used to figure an American opportunity credit in any 4 earlier tax years. 2011taxes This includes any tax year(s) in which you claimed the Hope Scholarship Credit for the same student. 2011taxes The student had not completed the first 4 years of postsecondary education (generally, the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years of college) before 2013. 2011taxes For at least one academic period beginning in 2013, the student was enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential. 2011taxes The student has not been convicted of any federal or state felony for possessing or distributing a controlled substance as of the end of 2013. 2011taxes These requirements are also shown in Figure 2-2, Who is an Eligible Student for the American Opportunity Credit , later. 2011taxes Completion of first 4 years. 2011taxes   A student has completed the first 4 years of postsecondary education if the institution at which the student is enrolled awards the student 4 years of academic credit at that institution for coursework completed by the student before 2013. 2011taxes This student generally would not be an eligible student for purposes of the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Exception. 2011taxes   Any academic credit awarded solely on the basis of the student's performance on proficiency examinations is disregarded in determining whether the student has completed 4 years of postsecondary education. 2011taxes Enrolled at least half-time. 2011taxes   A student was enrolled at least half-time if the student was taking at least half the normal full-time work load for his or her course of study. 2011taxes   The standard for what is half of the normal full-time work load is determined by each eligible educational institution. 2011taxes However, the standard may not be lower than any of those established by the U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes Department of Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965. 2011taxes Please click here for the text description of the image. 2011taxes Figure 2-2 Example 1. 2011taxes Mack graduated from high school in June 2012. 2011taxes In September, he enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at College U, and attended full-time for both the 2012 fall and 2013 spring semesters. 2011taxes For the 2013 fall semester, Mack was enrolled less than half-time. 2011taxes Because Mack was enrolled in an undergraduate degree program on at least a half-time basis for at least one academic period that began during 2012 and at least one academic period that began during 2013, he is an eligible student for tax years 2012 and 2013 (including the 2013 fall semester when he enrolled at College U on less than a half-time basis). 2011taxes Example 2. 2011taxes After taking classes at College V on a part-time basis for a few years, Shelly became a full-time student for the 2013 spring semester. 2011taxes College V classified Shelly as a second-semester senior (fourth year) for the 2013 spring semester and as a first-semester graduate student (fifth year) for the 2013 fall semester. 2011taxes Because College V did not classify Shelly as having completed the first 4 years of postsecondary education as of the beginning of 2013, Shelly is an eligible student for tax year 2013. 2011taxes Therefore, the qualified education expenses paid for the 2013 spring semester and the 2013 fall semester are taken into account in calculating the American opportunity credit for 2013. 2011taxes Example 3. 2011taxes During the 2012 fall semester, Larry was a high school student who took classes on a half-time basis at College X. 2011taxes Larry was not enrolled as part of a degree program at College X because College X only admits students to a degree program if they have a high school diploma or equivalent. 2011taxes Because Larry was not enrolled in a degree program at College X during 2012, Larry was not an eligible student for tax year 2012. 2011taxes Example 4. 2011taxes The facts are the same as in Example 3. 2011taxes During the 2013 spring semester, Larry again attended College X but not as part of a degree program. 2011taxes Larry graduated from high school in June 2013. 2011taxes For the 2013 fall semester, Larry enrolled as a full-time student in College X as part of a degree program, and College X awarded Larry credit for his prior coursework at College X. 2011taxes Because Larry was enrolled in a degree program at College X for the 2013 fall term on at least a half-time basis, Larry is an eligible student for all of tax year 2013. 2011taxes Therefore, the qualified education expenses paid for classes taken at College X during both the 2013 spring semester (during which Larry was not enrolled in a degree program) and the 2013 fall semester are taken into account in computing any American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Example 5. 2011taxes Dee graduated from high school in June 2012. 2011taxes In January 2013, Dee enrolled in a 1-year postsecondary certificate program on a full-time basis to obtain a certificate as a travel agent. 2011taxes Dee completed the program in December 2013, and was awarded a certificate. 2011taxes In January 2014, she enrolled in a 1-year postsecondary certificate program on a full-time basis to obtain a certificate as a computer programmer. 2011taxes Dee is an eligible student for both tax years 2013 and 2014 because she meets the degree requirement, the work load requirement, and the year of study requirement for those years. 2011taxes Who Can Claim a Dependent's Expenses If there are qualified education expenses for your dependent during a tax year, either you or your dependent, but not both of you, can claim an American opportunity credit for your dependent's expenses for that year. 2011taxes For you to claim an American opportunity credit for your dependent's expenses, you must also claim an exemption for your dependent. 2011taxes You do this by listing your dependent's name and other required information on Form 1040 (or Form 1040A), line 6c. 2011taxes IF you. 2011taxes . 2011taxes . 2011taxes THEN only. 2011taxes . 2011taxes . 2011taxes claim an exemption on  your tax return for a  dependent who is an  eligible student you can claim the American opportunity credit based on that dependent's expenses. 2011taxes The dependent cannot claim the credit. 2011taxes do not claim an exemption on your tax return for a dependent who is an eligible student (even if entitled to the exemption) the dependent can claim the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes You cannot claim the credit based on this dependent's expenses. 2011taxes Expenses paid by dependent. 2011taxes   If you claim an exemption on your tax return for an eligible student who is your dependent, treat any expenses paid (or deemed paid) by your dependent as if you had paid them. 2011taxes Include these expenses when figuring the amount of your American opportunity credit. 2011taxes    Qualified education expenses paid directly to an eligible educational institution for your dependent under a court-approved divorce decree are treated as paid by your dependent. 2011taxes Expenses paid by you. 2011taxes   If you claim an exemption for a dependent who is an eligible student, only you can include any expenses you paid when figuring the amount of the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes If neither you nor anyone else claims an exemption for the dependent, only the dependent can include any expenses you paid when figuring the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Expenses paid by others. 2011taxes   Someone other than you, your spouse, or your dependent (such as a relative or former spouse) may make a payment directly to an eligible educational institution to pay for an eligible student's qualified education expenses. 2011taxes In this case, the student is treated as receiving the payment from the other person and, in turn, paying the institution. 2011taxes If you claim an exemption on your tax return for the student, you are considered to have paid the expenses. 2011taxes Example. 2011taxes In 2013, Ms. 2011taxes Allen makes a payment directly to an eligible educational institution for her grandson Todd's qualified education expenses. 2011taxes For purposes of claiming an American opportunity credit, Todd is treated as receiving the money from his grandmother and, in turn, paying his qualified education expenses himself. 2011taxes Unless an exemption for Todd is claimed on someone else's 2013 tax return, only Todd can use the payment to claim an American opportunity credit. 2011taxes If anyone, such as Todd's parents, claims an exemption for Todd on his or her 2013 tax return, whoever claims the exemption may be able to use the expenses to claim an American opportunity credit. 2011taxes If anyone else claims an exemption for Todd, Todd cannot claim an American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Tuition reduction. 2011taxes    When an eligible educational institution provides a reduction in tuition to an employee of the institution (or spouse or dependent child of an employee), the amount of the reduction may or may not be taxable. 2011taxes If it is taxable, the employee is treated as receiving a payment of that amount and, in turn, paying it to the educational institution on behalf of the student. 2011taxes For more information on tuition reductions, see Qualified Tuition Reduction in chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Tuition Reductions. 2011taxes Figuring the Credit The amount of the American opportunity credit (per eligible student) is the sum of: 100% of the first $2,000 of qualified education expenses you paid for the eligible student, and 25% of the next $2,000 of qualified education expenses you paid for that student. 2011taxes The maximum amount of American opportunity credit you can claim in 2013 is $2,500 multiplied by the number of eligible students. 2011taxes You can claim the full $2,500 for each eligible student for whom you paid at least $4,000 of adjusted qualified education expenses. 2011taxes However, the credit may be reduced based on your MAGI. 2011taxes See Effect of the Amount of Your Income on the Amount of Your Credit , later. 2011taxes Example. 2011taxes Jack and Kay Ford are married and file a joint tax return. 2011taxes For 2013, they claim an exemption for their dependent daughter on their tax return. 2011taxes Their MAGI is $70,000. 2011taxes Their daughter is in her junior (third) year of studies at the local university. 2011taxes Jack and Kay paid qualified education expenses of $4,300 in 2013. 2011taxes Jack and Kay, their daughter, and the local university meet all of the requirements for the American opportunity credit. 2011taxes Jack and Kay can claim a $2,500 American opportunity credit in 2013. 2011taxes This is 100% of the first $2,000 of qualified education expenses, plus 25% of the next $2,000. 2011taxes Form 1098-T. 2011taxes   To help you figure your American opportunity credit, the student should receive Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement. 2011taxes Generally, an eligible educational institution (such as a college or university) must send Form 1098-T (or acceptable substitute) to each enrolled student by January 31, 2014. 2011taxes An institution may choose to report either payments received (box 1), or amounts billed (box 2), for qualified education expenses. 2011taxes However, the amounts in boxes 1 and 2 of Form 1098-T might be different than what you paid. 2011taxes When figuring the credit, use only the amounts you paid or are deemed to have paid in 2013 for qualified education expenses. 2011taxes   In addition, Form 1098-T should give other information for that institution, such as adjustments made for prior years, the amount of scholarships or grants, reimbursements or refunds, and whether the student was enrolled at least half-time or was a graduate student. 2011taxes    The eligible educational institution may ask for a completed Form W-9S, Request for Student's or Borrower's Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, or similar statement to obtain the student's name, address, and taxpayer identification number. 2011taxes Effect of the Amount of Your Income on the Amount of Your Credit The amount of your American opportunity credit is phased out (gradually reduced) if your MAGI is between $80,000 and $90,000 ($160,000 and $180,000 if you file a joint return). 2011taxes You cannot claim an American opportunity credit if your MAGI is $90,000 or more ($180,000 or more if you file a joint return). 2011taxes Modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). 2011taxes   For most taxpayers, MAGI is adjusted gross income (AGI) as figured on their federal income tax return. 2011taxes MAGI when using Form 1040A. 2011taxes   If you file Form 1040A, your MAGI is the AGI on line 22 of that form. 2011taxes MAGI when using Form 1040. 2011taxes   If you file Form 1040, your MAGI is the AGI on line 38 of that form, modified by adding back any: Foreign earned income exclusion, Foreign housing exclusion, Foreign housing deduction, Exclusion of income by bona fide residents of American Samoa, and Exclusion of income by bona fide residents of Puerto Rico. 2011taxes You can use Worksheet 2-1, next, to figure your MAGI. 2011taxes    Worksheet 2-1. 2011taxes MAGI for the American Opportunity Credit 1. 2011taxes Enter your adjusted gross income  (Form 1040, line 38)   1. 2011taxes   2. 2011taxes Enter your foreign earned income exclusion and/or housing exclusion (Form 2555, line 45, or Form 2555-EZ, line 18)   2. 2011taxes       3. 2011taxes Enter your foreign housing deduction (Form 2555, line 50)   3. 2011taxes       4. 2011taxes Enter the amount of income from Puerto Rico you are excluding   4. 2011taxes       5. 2011taxes Enter the amount of income from American Samoa you are excluding (Form 4563, line 15)   5. 2011taxes       6. 2011taxes Add the amounts on lines 2, 3, 4, and 5   6. 2011taxes   7. 2011taxes Add the amounts on lines 1 and 6. 2011taxes  This is your modified adjusted  gross income. 2011taxes Enter here and  on Form 8863, line 3   7. 2011taxes   Phaseout. 2011taxes   If your MAGI is within the range of incomes where the credit must be reduced, you will figure your reduced credit using lines 2-7, of Form 8863, Part I. 2011taxes The same method is shown in the following example. 2011taxes Example. 2011taxes You are filing a joint return and your MAGI is $165,000. 2011taxes In 2013, you paid $5,000 of qualified education expenses. 2011taxes You figure a tentative American opportunity credit of $2,500 (100% of the first $2,000 of qualified education expenses, plus 25% of the next $2,000 of qualified education expenses). 2011taxes Because your MAGI is within the range of incomes where the credit must be reduced, you must multiply your tentative credit ($2,500) by a fraction. 2011taxes The numerator of the fraction is $180,000 (the upper limit for those filing a joint return) minus your MAGI. 2011taxes The denominator is $20,000, the range of incomes for the phaseout ($160,000 to $180,000). 2011taxes The result is the amount of your phased out (reduced) American opportunity credit ($1,875). 2011taxes      $2,500 × $180,000 − $165,000  $20,000 = $1,875   Refundable Part of Credit Forty percent of the American opportunity credit is refundable for most taxpayers. 2011taxes However, if you were under age 24 at the end of 2013 and the conditions listed below apply to you, you cannot claim any part of the American opportunity credit as a refundable credit on your tax return. 2011taxes Instead, your allowed credit (figured on Form 8863, Part II) will be used to reduce your tax as a nonrefundable credit only. 2011taxes You do not qualify for a refund if items 1 (a, b, or c), 2, and 3 below apply to you. 2011taxes You were: Under age 18 at the end of 2013, or Age 18 at the end of 2013 and your earned income (defined below) was less than one-half of your support (defined below), or Over age 18 and under age 24 at the end of 2013 and a full-time student (defined below) and your earned income (defined below) was less than one-half of your support (defined below). 2011taxes At least one of your parents was alive at the end of 2013. 2011taxes You are filing a return as single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately for 2013. 2011taxes Earned income. 2011taxes   Earned income includes wages, salaries, professional fees, and other payments received for personal services actually performed. 2011taxes Earned income includes the part of any scholarship or fellowship that represents payment for teaching, research, or other services performed by the student that are required as a condition for receiving the scholarship or fellowship. 2011taxes Earned income does not include that part of the compensation for personal services rendered to a corporation which represents a distribution of earnings or profits rather than a reasonable allowance as compensation for the personal services actually rendered. 2011taxes   If you are a sole proprietor or a partner in a trade or business in which both personal services and capital are material income-producing factors, earned income also includes a reasonable allowance for compensation for personal services, but not more than 30% of your share of the net profits from that trade or business (after subtracting the deduction for one-half of self-employment tax). 2011taxes However, if capital is not an income-producing factor and your personal services produced the business income, the 30% limit does not apply. 2011taxes Support. 2011taxes   Your support includes food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, education, and the like. 2011taxes Generally, the amount of the item of support will be the amount of expenses incurred by the one furnishing such item. 2011taxes If the item of support is in the form of property or lodging, measure the amount of such item of support by its fair market value. 2011taxes However, a scholarship received by you is not considered support if you are a full-time student. 2011taxes See Publication 501 for details. 2011taxes Full-time student. 2011taxes   You are a full-time student for 2013 if during any part of any 5 calendar months during the year you were enrolled as a full-time student at an eligible educational institution (defined earlier), or took a full-time, on-farm training course given by such an institution or by a state, county, or local government agency. 2011taxes Claiming the Credit You claim the American opportunity credit by completing Form 8863 and submitting it with your Form 1040 or 1040A. 2011taxes Enter the nonrefundable part of the credit on Form 1040, line 49, or on Form 1040A, line 31. 2011taxes Enter the refundable part of the credit on Form 1040, line 66, or on Form 1040A, line 40. 2011taxes A filled-in Form 8863 is shown at the end of this publication. 2011taxes Note. 2011taxes In Appendix A. 2011taxes at the end of this publication, there is an example illustrating the use of Form 8863 when both the American opportunity credit and the lifetime learning credit are claimed on the same tax return. 2011taxes Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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Understanding Your CP53A Notice

We tried to direct deposit your refund, but the financial institution couldn’t process it. We are researching your account, but it will take 8 to 10 weeks to reissue your refund.


What you need to do

  • If you don’t receive your refund check or a follow-up letter within 10 weeks, call us at 1-866-682-7451 x733.
  • If you call us before then, we won’t have any information about the status of your refund until we complete the research on your account.

Answers to Common Questions

Why was my direct deposit refund returned to the IRS?
A financial institution will reject a refund for a variety of reasons. Most often, one of the following items doesn’t match its records:

  • Name
  • SSN
  • Routing number
  • Account number

Why will it take up to 10 weeks to receive my refund?
We must research your account to determine if you are entitled to the refund. We try to balance customer service and tax compliance by reviewing tax returns to prevent fraudulent or erroneous refunds. However, these critical reviews add time to refund processing. Refund timeframes are also affected by:

  • Bankruptcy
  • An open audit
  • A balance due on a related account (such as a different tax year)

Will calling the IRS give me additional information or speed my refund?
No, calling the IRS won’t do anything to speed your refund. You don’t need to call us unless we ask you to. If we need more information to process your refund, we’ll contact you by mail. Our telephone assistors won’t be able to provide any additional information.

Is the estimated date my tax preparer, tax software, or “Where’s My Refund” provided a guarantee of when I’ll get my refund?
Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee the date when a taxpayer will get his or her refund. While we can provide an estimate, this is a “best-case scenario” where the tax return doesn’t require any additional review or corrections.We work hard to issue refunds as quickly as possible. However, you shouldn’t make major financial decisions based on the estimated issue date of a tax refund.

Can I direct part of my refund into my tax professional’s checking or savings account to pay my tax preparation fee?
No. You can direct your refund to any of your checking or savings accounts. You can’t direct your refund to someone else’s account (except for your spouse’s account when you have a joint refund).


Tips for next year

If you request a direct deposit refund, ensure the account you specify is in your name (or your spouse’s if you have a joint refund).

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 04-Mar-2014

Printable samples of this notice (PDF)

 

 

How to get help

  • Call the 1-800 number listed on the top right corner of your notice.
  • Authorize someone (e.g., accountant) to contact the IRS on your behalf using Form 2848.
  • See if you qualify for help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
     

The 2011taxes

2011taxes 10. 2011taxes   Employees of Foreign Governments and International Organizations Table of Contents Exemption Under Tax Treaty Exemption Under U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes Tax LawCertification. 2011taxes Employees of foreign governments (including foreign municipalities) have two ways to get exemption of their governmental wages from U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes income tax: By a provision in a tax treaty or consular convention between the United States and their country, or By meeting the requirements of U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax law. 2011taxes Employees of international organizations can exempt their wages either by a provision, if one exists, in the international agreement creating the international organization, or by meeting the requirements of U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax law. 2011taxes The exemption discussed in this chapter applies only to pay received for services performed for a foreign government or international organization. 2011taxes Other U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes income received by persons who qualify for this exemption may be fully taxable or given favorable treatment under an applicable tax treaty provision. 2011taxes The proper treatment of this kind of income (interest, dividends, etc. 2011taxes ) is discussed earlier in this publication. 2011taxes Exemption Under Tax Treaty If you are from a country that has a tax treaty with the United States, you should first look at the treaty to see if there is a provision that exempts your income. 2011taxes The income of U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes citizens and resident aliens working for foreign governments usually is not exempt. 2011taxes However, in a few instances, the income of a U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes citizen with dual citizenship may qualify. 2011taxes Often the exemption is limited to the income of persons who also are nationals of the foreign country involved. 2011taxes Exemption Under U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes Tax Law Employees of foreign governments who do not qualify under a tax treaty provision and employees of international organizations may qualify for exemption by meeting the following requirements of U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax law. 2011taxes The exemption under U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax law applies only to current employees and not to former employees. 2011taxes Pensions received by former employees living in the United States do not qualify for the exemption discussed here. 2011taxes Employees of foreign governments. 2011taxes   If you are not a U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes citizen, or if you are a U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes citizen but also a citizen of the Philippines, and you work for a foreign government in the United States, your foreign government salary is exempt from U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax if you perform services similar to those performed by U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes government employees in that foreign country and that foreign government grants an equivalent exemption to U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes government employees. 2011taxes Certification. 2011taxes   To qualify for the exemption under U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax law, either the Department of State must certify that you perform services similar to those performed by employees of the government of the United States in foreign countries and that your foreign government employer grants an equivalent exemption to U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes government employees performing similar services in its country or you must establish those facts. 2011taxes However, see Aliens who keep immigrant status , later, for a special rule that may affect your qualifying for this exemption. 2011taxes Employees of international organizations. 2011taxes   If you work for an international organization in the United States and you are not a U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes citizen (or you are a U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes citizen but are also a citizen of the Philippines), your salary from that organization is exempt from U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax. 2011taxes However, see Aliens who keep immigrant status , later, for a special rule that may affect your qualifying for this exemption. 2011taxes   An international organization is an organization designated by the President of the United States through Executive Order to qualify for the privileges, exemptions, and immunities provided in the International Organizations Immunities Act. 2011taxes   You should find out if you have been made known to, and have been accepted by, the Secretary of State as an officer or an employee of that organization, or if you have been designated by the Secretary of State, before formal notification and acceptance, as a prospective officer or employee. 2011taxes   If you are claiming exemption, you should know the number of the Executive Order covering the international organization and should have some written evidence of your acceptance or designation by the Secretary of State. 2011taxes   The exemption is denied when, because the Secretary of State determines your presence in the United States is no longer desirable, you leave the United States (or after a reasonable time allowed for leaving the United States). 2011taxes The exemption is also denied when a foreign country does not allow similar exemptions to U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes citizens. 2011taxes Then the Secretary of State can withdraw the privileges, exemptions, and immunities from the nationals of that foreign country. 2011taxes Aliens who keep immigrant status. 2011taxes   If you file the waiver provided by section 247(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (USCIS Form I-508) to keep your immigrant status (green card), you no longer qualify for the exemption from U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax under U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax law from the date of filing the waiver with the Attorney General. 2011taxes   However, you do not lose the exemption if you file the waiver, and meet either of the following conditions. 2011taxes You are exempt from U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes tax under an income tax treaty, consular agreement, or international agreement between the United States and your foreign government employer. 2011taxes You work for an international organization and the international organization agreement creating the international organization provides that alien employees are exempt from U. 2011taxes S. 2011taxes income tax. 2011taxes Two international organizations that have such a provision are the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank). 2011taxes . 2011taxes   For more information about a specific foreign country or international organization, send an email to embassy@irs. 2011taxes gov. 2011taxes Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications