American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits (Tax Year 2020)
IRS Form 1098-T
Important Information for Shippensburg University Students
Near the end of January 2021 you will receive an Internal Revenue Form 1098-T in the mail. The University is required to issue this form to each student who attended at any time during the 2020 calendar year. Retain this important form for income tax preparation purposes for 2020. If you do not receive a Form 1098-T shortly after January 31, please visit https://heartland.ecsi.net/ to request a duplicate. (Instructions for logging in to the ECSI site are below.) To request detailed information of amounts billed and paid, call the Students Accounts Office at 717-477-1211.
Form 1098-T provides part of the information you need to claim education tax benefits provided by the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits. Depending on your income (or your family’s income, if you are a dependent), whether you were enrolled full or half-time, and the amount of your qualified educational expenses for the year, you may be eligible for a federal education tax credit. (You can find detailed information about claiming education tax credits in IRS Publication 970, page 9.)
The Form 1098-T is an informational tool only. It should be used along with the taxpayers own records of tuition and fee amounts paid to complete IRS Form 8863 to claim the tax credit.
This information is provided as required by the IRS and does not represent tax advice from the University. The taxpayer should refer to relevant IRS forms and publications or seek the counsel of an informed tax preparer or adviser. Please do not contact the University for an explanation relating to the eligibility requirements for, or calculations of, any allowable education tax credit.
For more information about Form 1098-T, visit https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1098t_18.pdf
***IMPORTANT CHANGE FOR TAX YEAR 2018***
Prior to 2018, the Form 1098-T included a figure in Box 2 that represented the qualified tuition and related expenses (QTRE) Shippensburg University billed to your student account for the calendar (tax) year. Due to a change to institutional reporting requirements under federal law, beginning with tax year 2018, universities were required to report in Box 1 the amount of QTRE you paid during the year.
Box 1 represents amounts paid in calendar year 2020, capped at the total amount of QTRE billed in calendar year 2020 plus previously unpaid QTRE charges from 2018 and 2019. Keep in mind that the university begins billing spring charges in November of the previous year, but most payments, including the majority of financial aid payments occur after January 1 of the following year.
You should work with your tax preparer to determine the amounts you can claim as payments for 2020 based upon your financial records. The university can provide you with details of 2018 through 2020 payments and charges on your account, if needed, to assist you in completing your tax return.
What information is on the 1098T?
Academic years do not correspond to tax years. Below are explanations of each box on the 1098-T to help clarify the financial data reported. It is important to remember that the amounts on this form consists of charges assessed and payments made in a calendar year, not in an academic year.
Box 1. Amounts paid for qualified tuition and related expenses. The amount in Box 1 reflects payments from all sources received in 2020 for qualified tuition and related expenses (QTRE) charged in 2020, plus any 2018 and 2019 unreported (previously unpaid) charges, less any reimbursements or refunds made during the year. Box 1 amount is capped at the total QTRE billed.
Box 2. In previous years, Box 2 reported charges billed. Effective 2018 the IRS is requiring all schools to report payments received in Box 1. Box 2 will be BLANK.
Box 4. Adjustments made for a prior year. This box reflects refunds or reimbursements made in 2020 that relate to payments received and reported to the IRS in any prior year. However, since the university did not report payments received before 2018, Box 4 will reflect refunds made in 2020 related to payments received in 2018 and 2019 only.
Box 5. Shows the total of all scholarships and grants posted to the student account in 2020. This reporting requirement has not changed from previous years. Amounts are reported in Box 5 regardless of any qualified or non-qualified expenses posted in 2020.
Box 6. Shows any reductions in scholarships or grants that were reported on a prior year 1098-T.
Box 7. If this box is checked, the amount in Box 1 contains payments posted in 2020 for the Spring 2021 semester.
What are the Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses (QTRE)?
Only payments that pay qualified tuition and related expenses (QTRE) will show in Box 1. QTRE are those fees that a student must pay that are within the IRS guidelines. Below is a chart of Qualified vs Non-Qualified expenses.
|Tuition Technology Fee||Meals|
|Educational Service Fee||Flex|
|Comp Health Fee||Late Fees|
|Student Union Fee||Room damage fees|
|Activity Fee||Lost or replacement key charges|
|Recreation Fee||Placement of Test Fees|
|Off Campus Support Fee||Degree Fee|
|Field Placement Fee||Orientation Fee|
|Student Success Fee||Health Equipment charges|
|Student Affairs Admin Fee|
How do I know if I am eligible for a tax credit?
Employees of Shippensburg University cannot offer assistance with tax form preparation, nor supply advice on what can or cannot be claimed. Please do not contact the university for that purpose. You are encouraged to consult a tax advisor and refer to federal Publication 970 from the IRS.
What should I do if I do not understand the dollar amounts on the 1098T or if they do not agree with my records?
If you would like an itemized breakdown of the QTRE and payments you made in the tax year, please contact the Student Accounts Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-477-1211.
I graduated in Spring 2020. Why doesn’t Box 1 show the payment I made in 2020?
Due to the transition from reporting Box 2 charges to Box 1 payments effective 2018, and the fact that the university billed for Spring 2020 in the calendar year 2019, payments for qualified charges may have reached the cap limit in 2019 and there may not have been any remaining qualified chagrges to be paid in 2020. If any new qualified charges were posted for Spring in 2020, then a payment may show in Box 1 for those 2020 charges only. Even though Box 1 may be blank or show a lower amount than you actually paid, you do not have to claim what we report. Work with a tax preparer or advisor if needed. The 1098-T is only an informational tool to use to assist in completing your taxes. The university can also supply you with an itemized breakdown of charges and payments for your records if you plan to claim an amount other than what is reported on your 1098-T.
Can my parent, spouse or tax preparer speak to someone in the Student Accounts Office regarding my 1098-T form?
Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), only the student, or those persons the student has authorized via a signed authorization form, may contact the Student Accounts Office for information or assistance regarding the 1098-T form. To grant permission to another individual, please complete a FERPA Consent Form found here and submit it to the Student Accounts Office with a copy of your SU ID card via email@example.com.
How do I Request a Duplicate 1098T?
To request a duplicate 1098-T, visit ECSI’s website at https://heartland.ecsi.net. Instructions for logging in once you are at the ECSI site are as follows. (Make sure you turn off your Pop-up blocker for this site.)
• Click on the Tax Documents box
Select "CLICK HERE TO SEARCH FOR YOUR TAX FORM".
•Type in Shippensburg University in the School Name field.
•Click on Shippensburg University to select it and click Submit.
•Enter First Name, Last Name, SSN, and Zip code in the required fields. (The information entered must exactly match the information Shippensburg University has on file.)
•Check the box for "I am not a robot" and verify the information requested by the website. Once completed, click Verify. (You may not be asked to verify information, it will depend on the internet browser you are using).
•The Tax Document Information window appears listing the tax forms.
•Click on the + sign to the right of the delivery status to provide the tax form detail, as well as printing options.
•Click View/Print Statement link under the 1098-T statement header. (Please turn off the pop-up block on your web browser for the 1098-T to appear.)