From: Volunteer Tax Alert (VTA) – 2010-05 February 1, 2010, Documentation Required to Determine Eligibility for Certain Tax Benefits
To claim an Education Credit (American Opportunity/Hope or Lifetime Learning) or a Tuition and Fees Deduction adjustment, Taxpayers must provide Form 1098-T issued by a qualified educational institution for each eligible student. Return preparers should confirm payment of amounts shown on Forms 1098-T with the taxpayer. Taxpayers eligible to claim the American Opportunity Credit may also claim amounts not shown on Form 1098-T that they paid for required course materials (books, supplies, computers, etc.) Possible documentary sources for these amounts include:
Volunteer return preparers may accept the taxpayer’s oral or written statement regarding the amount of additional required course materials (for American Opportunity Credit only). Preparers should not, however, estimate the amounts for a taxpayer.
Note: If the taxpayer provides the information about additional required course materials verbally, the return preparer should note the amount on the intake and interview sheet and that the information was obtained during the taxpayer interview.