Craig education briefs for Nov. 29, 2014: Rotary honors Youth of the Month Tane Otis
Tane Otis, a sophomore at Moffat County High School, received Rotary Club of Craig’s Youth of the Month award for November.
“Tane is the type of student who is willing to open herself up to new people and experiences,” the Rotary Club said on its Facebook page. “She has a fantastic outlook on life and is a positive force in the classroom and all of her extracurriculars.”
Tane works for the Craig Boys & Girls Club, is an active member of Bear River Younglife and also has a particular passion for photography. She was presented with the award at the Rotary Club meeting on Nov. 18.
College tax credits available for 2014 tax year
Two college tax credits and several other education-related tax benefits are available to qualifying students and their parents when they file 2014 federal income tax returns, according to a news release from the Internal Revenue Service. The American opportunity tax credit provides an annual credit of up to $2,500 for each eligible student for up to four tax years. Alternatively, the lifetime learning credit provides a credit of 20 percent of the amount spent on eligible expenses across all students on the return, for a maximum $2,000 credit per tax return.
Though a taxpayer often qualifies for both of these credits, he or she can only claim one of them for a particular student in a particular year. These credits can be claimed on Form 8863.
Most students will receive a Form 1098-T from their institution by the end of January with information about tuition paid or billed for the prior tax year. However, amounts shown on this form may differ from amounts taxpayers are eligible to claim for these tax credits. Taxpayers should see the instructions on Form 8863 and Publication 970 for details on properly figuring allowable tax benefits.
For those eligible, including most undergraduate students, the American opportunity tax credit will generally yield the greater tax savings. Alternatively, the lifetime learning credit should be considered by part-time students and those attending graduate school.
Income limits and other restrictions apply.
You can use the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant tool to help determine if you are eligible for these benefits. The tool is available on IRS.gov. Details can also be found in the Tax Benefits for Education Information Center on IRS.gov.
Other education-related tax benefits include zero taxes on scholarships and fellowship grants when funds are used to pay for tuition and fees, student loan interest deductions of up to $2,500 per year, zero taxes on savings bonds used to pay for college within certain income limits, and qualified tuition programs — also called 529 plans—used to prepay or save for a child’s college education.
Community college transfer students should apply now for four-year schools
Students who plan to transfer from a community college to a four-year college are reminded to apply now for fall admission in order to receive the same housing and financial aid opportunities as traditional students.
For students who want to start in the fall of 2015, the priority deadline to apply is Dec. 1.
Colorado has a guaranteed transfer program. To help students avoid taking unnecessary courses and earn a degree in as little time as possible, Colorado has developed a general education curriculum that forms the core of most bachelor’s degrees and is guaranteed to transfer between all public colleges and universities in the state.
For institutional transfer guides, go to http://highered.colorado.gov/Academics/transfers/Guides/default.html.
Colorado treats marijuana taxes like ‘a piggy bank,’ but top lawmakers want to limit spending to two areas
The complaints from constituents and policy advocates are aimed at the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, a depository for about half of the $272 million the state is expected to generate this fiscal year from marijuana-related taxes. The legislature has guidelines for how the money should be spent, but lawmakers can use it for just about anything they want. And in practice, they do, splitting the money among dozens of different programs, across more than a dozen state agencies.