You may be able to deduct qualified higher education tuition and required enrollment fees up to $4,000 that you pay for yourself, your spouse or a dependent.
This break, first established in the early part of the decade, was extended for 2008 and 2009 in the financial bailout legislation in October.
You do not have to itemize to take this deduction. However, a taxpayer cannot take both the tuition and fees deduction and either the Hope or Lifetime Learning education credits for the same student in the same year.
But since those credits have income limits, this deduction is important to taxpayers who don't otherwise qualify for either credit.
To determine whether your expenses are qualified, check IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education (.pdf file).
This publication also describes additional education-related tax benefits.
Published Dec. 10, 2008