Sam students may owe less to Uncle Sam

Tax season has arrived and with it comes questions and confusion.

What deductions can students take, what tax credits do I receive and when do I get my money are just a few of the many questions on the minds of some Sam Houston State University students.

Several Sam students already know what they are getting back.

Freshman, John Steinbrecker has filed his forms and knows already the amount of his refund. “I am getting some back, but I wanted a lot more,” said Steinbrecker.

Tax relief programs that will help offset some of the education expenses include the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit and the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit.

The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is available to students who take at least one class from an accredited school, including graduate and both undergraduate facilities. There is a maximum credit of $2000 and single filers must make less than $52,000. Check before you claim this exemption however because filers may only claim up to 20 percent of their expenses.

The Hope Scholarship Tax Credit is offered to students who are enrolled at least part-time and are working on their first two years of undergraduate study. This means freshmen and sophomores are only eligible. Students may claim up $1500 with this credit but must be free from any felony convictions involving possession or distribution of a controlled substance according to the “New York Times” website.

Not to worry if you do not qualify for the tax credits above, H&R Block’s website discusses another tax relief effort called the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction. Students that make between $65,000 and $80,000 may be eligible for a $2000 tax credit also.

Student loan interest you have been paying is also tax deductible and students may claim up to $2000 in interest payments this year.

Steinbrecker also claimed both his phone and gas expenses on his taxes because he lives 60 miles away and commutes. This may not be available to all commuters. It is always a good idea to have your return. The most important thing to remember is to pay if you owe. The government is cracking down on students who owe back payments on student loans by keeping their tax refund.

Whatever tax relief you are looking for can be found at your local H&R Block office or one of the many do-it-yourself tax return computer software programs such as Turbo Tax. These two companies also have websites to answer questions and to refer you to the Internal Revenue Service website for guidelines.

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