Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Form 8863


Greetings from New Hampshire.  The instructions for The American Opportunity Credit seem unclear to me.  I completed secondary education and got a bachelors degree many years ago, but now I am pursuing another bachelors degree in a different field.  I have never taken the Hope or American Opportunity credit before.  Can I take it now.  I meet all of the other requirements, but this part about having completed 4 years of secondary - is that all-inclusive forever or just pertaining to this later degree program?  Thanks.

Larry, thanks for your question.

Unfortunately, that is all inclusive.  Once you have completed four years of college, you are no longer eligible for the AOTC.  You may be eligible for the lifetime learning credit, however.  Not as good as the AOTC, but better than nothing.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

FICPA, NATP, NCPE Fellowship, Lakeland Business Leaders

The CPA Journal, Florida CPA Today, Green Consumer, Green Business, Global Sustainability as a Business Imperative, Palmetto Review, NATP TaxPro Quarterly, Mustang Journal of Finance and Accounting.

DBA University of Memphis MBA University of Georgia BS in Accounting Mars Hill University

©2017 All rights reserved.