Who can claim the Hope credit or the lifetime learning credit?
You can generally claim the Hope credit or the lifetime learning credit if you paid for post-secondary education expenses for yourself, your spouse, or someone who you claim as a dependent on your tax return. You cannot claim either credit if you are someone else’s dependent, and if you are married you must be filing jointly to claim either credit (so you cannot claim them if you file separately). There is a separate limitation which applies to the Hope credit but not to the lifetime learning credit, which is that you can only claim the Hope credit twice for any one student - so if you have previously claimed the Hope credit twice for a single individual student, you cannot claim it again. Finally, both credits are subject to a phaseout, which means the amount you can claim may be reduced if your modified adjusted gross income is over a certain amount, and you may not be entitled to any credit at all if your modified adjusted gross income is too high.