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Anne Powelson Anne Powelson
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Maine's Best Tax Credit?

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Emmys, Grammys, Tonys what awards should we give for great tax credits? The Creddys?

I may not have a good name for the award, but I have a great nominee the Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit.

What is the Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit?

It's a credit on your Maine tax return, reimbursing you for student loan payments made.

Who can claim this credit?

To be eligible you must:

-have been a Maine resident while attending a Maine college or university

-have an associate's or bachelor's degree awarded after 2007 from an accredited Maine community college, college or university. (All coursework received after 2007 must be from a Maine educational institute, although after 2013 qualifying graduates may have earned up to 30 hours outside Maine.)

-be a Maine resident working, or self-employed, in Maine. (Maine residents deployed in military service are considered to be working in Maine.)

How big is the credit?

For those with a bachelor's degree the credit is worth up to $4524 per year. For those with an associate's degree the maximum per year is $840. The amount you can receive depends on:

- year of graduation

-degree type (bachelor's or associate)

-monthly student loan payment

-eligible months of work, residency and loan payments

-percent of degree hours completed after 2008

-and, for eligible students transferring after 2013, transfer adjustment.

What if the credit is more than your tax liability?

One of two things happens. If you graduated with a degree registered as being in science, technology, engineering or mathematics the credit is refundable. Otherwise it carries forward for up to 10 years.

How do I claim this credit?

The credit is claimed on your Maine tax return. The worksheet for the credit is available at Maine Revenue's website: maine.gov/revenue/forms/credits. If you forgot the credit in prior years you can amend to claim it. You should submit documentation to verify your eligibility. That includes attaching your diploma, transcripts, loan payments due and loan payments made to the return.

Maybe there will never be a special Creddy award show, but if you know someone living in Maine and paying off student loans, they will certainly celebrate if you let them know about this amazing credit!

Pssst:There's a sequel in the works! Just wait until 2016 to see the changes! Hint: wouldn't it be great if the credit was refundable more often and applied to more degrees

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