from Volunteer Tax Alert 2011-03

posted Feb 14, 2011, 12:36 PM by Wayne Culp   [ updated Nov 23, 2011, 11:03 AM by Wayne Culp ]
Education Credits (Form 8863)
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, equipment, 
etc.) Caution: Expenditures for a computer would qualify for the credit if the computer is 
needed as a condition of enrollment or attendance at the educational institution.
Possible documentary sources for these amounts include:
 Receipts
 Cancelled checks
 Credit card statements
 Bills
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.