PARSIPPANY, N.J., Aug. 5 // PRNewswire-FirstCall // -- According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, approximately 19 million* students are expected to enroll in colleges and universities across the country this year, and many others will participate in continuing education programs. As the new school year approaches, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service((R)) reminds those heading back to the classroom about an important increased tax credit and other tax deductions that are available for post-secondary education.
Through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA), signed earlier this year, the credit formerly known as the Hope Credit will increase to a maximum of $2,500 of eligible expenses for the first four years of post-secondary education. This expanded credit is now called the American Opportunity Tax Credit and is available for tax years 2009 and 2010. The credit also includes the cost of books and software required for courses.
"To provide parents and students with additional assistance in financing post-secondary education, the federal government has increased the amount of the American Opportunity Tax Credit to $2,500 -- up from $1,800 -- and has extended the credit to also cover certain class-related expenses like books and software," said Mark Steber, chief tax officer, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. "It's important for taxpayers to be aware of this change and to keep proper documentation so that they can claim relevant education credits and deductions when filing a 2009 tax return."
Other notable education-related tax credits and deductions include:
"It's critical to keep the right documentation," cautions Steber. "Receipts from the educational institution showing the amount paid for tuition and fees or canceled checks or bank statements are all adequate for verification. If your payments included amounts charged other than tuition and fees, remember to save a copy of billing documents from the school that break down the charges individually."
Many Jackson Hewitt offices are open year-round to assist taxpayers and answer a range of questions related to tax benefits, including credits and deductions for education.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (NYSE: JTX), with approximately 6,600 franchised and company-owned offices throughout the United States during the 2009 tax season, is an industry leader providing full service individual federal and state income tax return preparation. Most offices are independently owned and operated. Jackson Hewitt is based in Parsippany, New Jersey.
* Source: U.S. Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/013847.html; Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 214 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
SOURCE Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.