An AOTC Reminder from Congressman Chaka Fattah: Prepare Now to Claim Your Higher Education Tax Credit

Jan 22, 2010, 11:25 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) issues a Tax Season public service reminder to college students and their families: Now is the time to gather official documents and receipts to help you claim the new $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit for your higher education expenses in 2009.

Rep. Fattah is architect of the AOTC legislation, enacted as part of President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is designed to help low and moderate income students meet their college expenses.

"I join President Obama in working toward the goal of a college education for every American," Fattah said. "We need to raise the bar of expectation for all of our young people and other aspiring students – and the American Opportunity Tax Credit is a significant step toward making college affordable to all."

Fattah introduced the AOTC on the first day of the 111th Congress one year ago. The tuition credit, modeled after a plan advocated by candidate Barack Obama in 2008, is valued at $14 billion. It was included in the Recovery Act signed into law last February. 

The AOTC will allow students to take a credit on their 2009 federal income tax return for up to $2,500 for eligible expenses for higher education paid out of pocket in the calendar year 2009. The credit is partially refundable – it can mean money back from the IRS for those with a total tax liability between zero and $2,500.

Generally, eligible expenses are tuition, books, fees and other direct higher-education expenses. Tuition and other expenses covered by scholarships and grants are not eligible for the AOTC credit.

Complete details on the American Opportunity Tax Credit and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act are available at the official IRS Web site at

For questions and assistance with tax preparation, please contact your tax preparer, the IRS or visit or  This information is provided as a courtesy to residents of the Second Congressional District and Philadelphia and should not be considered legal tax advice.

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah