This toolkit is for valued partners of the IRS: social organizations, colleges, universities, trade and technical schools, tribal and local government, tax return preparers and more. It brings you tools and resources for certain credits other than the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) -- that is, the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) and the refundable part of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). We also provide resources for the non-refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC), Credit for Other Dependents (ODC), Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) and the non-refundable part of the AOTC.
You can help ensure eligible individuals receive the credits they deserve by keeping informed and using the latest tools for marketing, education and tax return preparation.
We welcome your comments and suggestions about how we can better meet your needs and improve this site.
What Can We Help You Find?
Find the latest news for refundable credits on our What's Hot page.
Find Advance Child Tax Credit educational videos:
Watch just released informative videos about Advance Child Tax Credit payments, who is eligible, how do you receive them, when they will be issued and how they may impact tax obligations.
- What Are Advance Child Tax Credit Payments?
- What Do I Need to Do to Receive Advance Child Tax Credit Payments?
- When Will the IRS Issue Advance Child Tax Credit Payments?
- Who Is Eligible for Advance Child Tax Credit Payments?
- Will Advance Child Tax Credit Payments Affect Any Government Benefits Someone is Receiving?
Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCC) increased for 2021 Only
For 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, enacted March 11, 2021, made the credit substantially more generous (up to $4,000 for one qualifying person and $8,000 for two or more qualifying persons) and potentially refundable, so a taxpayer might not have to owe taxes to claim the credit (so long as the other requirements are met). For more information see Child and Dependent Care Information.
Tax-Free CARES Grant for Higher Education under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
There’s good news if you received an emergency financial aid grant from your school because you were financially impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The grant is tax-free to you! Do not include it in income on your 2020 tax return. Since the grant is tax-free, grant funds you use to pay for educational expenses cannot be used to claim the American opportunity tax credit, lifetime learning credit or the tuition and fees deduction on your tax return.
For more information on this topic, please see FAQs: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CARES Act or Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
Life Events and Tax Benefits for Education
Has a life event caused a disruption in your post-secondary education pursuits? Are you taking more of your courses on-line instead of in-person? Are you delaying your educational goals?
Don’t forget to consider claiming the American opportunity tax credit (AOTC) even when life events happen and when you restart your education. Tax credits for education such as the AOTC can still help you pay qualified education expenses for an eligible student even if there’s a pause in educational goals, or courses were taken on-line. AOTC may reduce your tax up to $2,500 per eligible student and up to $1,000 may be refunded to you even if you’re not required to file a tax return.
A student can only be claimed for AOTC for four tax years. However, the years don’t have to be consecutive and courses can be taken on-line.
To be eligible for AOTC, the student must:
- Be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential
- Be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period* beginning in the tax year
- Not have finished the first four years of higher education at the beginning of the tax year
- Not have claimed the AOTC or the former Hope credit for more than four tax years
- Not have a felony drug conviction at the end of the tax year
*Academic Period can be semesters, trimesters, quarters or any other period of study such as a summer school session. The schools determine the academic periods. For schools that use clock or credit hours and do not have academic terms, the payment period may be treated as an academic period.
If you don’t qualify for AOTC, there are other education benefits to consider such as the Lifetime Learning Credit and the Tuition and Fees Deduction. See Publication 970 ,Tax Benefits for Education, for more information on these and other education tax benefits.
Find AOTC educational videos:
- What Information Do You Need to Claim an Education Credit? Preparers and individuals will benefit from the information.
- What you need to prepare a tax return claiming tax benefits for education. Preparers and individuals will benefit from this information.
See the criteria for AOTC and LLC side by side on our Compare Education Credits chart.
Whether you are involved in education, interact with students or parents of students or are a tax return preparer, find out what you need to know about AOTC and LLC.
To find out if your client qualifies for AOTC, see our Education Credits page.
Find out how to avoid common AOTC errors.
Child Tax Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit and Credit for Other Dependents
Whether you are a social or civic organization, a government office or agency, a county or municipal agency or a tax return preparer, find out what you need to know about CTC, ACTC and ODC.
Qualifying Child and Child-Related Tax Benefits
Need a quick definition of qualifying child? See our Understanding Who is a Qualifying Child Page.
See all the child-related tax benefits at a glance on our Child-Related Tax Benefits Comparison chart.
What other resources do we have for you?
Check out our Earned Income Tax Credit and Other Refundable Credits page.