Originally Posted by richardb86
Sorry about the lack of details, I wasn't thinking about their applications. We are both under 25, filing as single, not claimable by anyone with no dependents.
I believe the only difference between our tax situations other than the obvious income difference is that she doesn't have a prepaid college fund and she paid her tuition and school fees with a credit card. Is this part of why she has a significantly larger refund?
Your girlfriend has no tax liability, given her income. In previous years, she would not have been able to claim an education credit because those credits are nonrefundable (which just means that if you have no tax liability you don't get them). However, beginning with the 2009 tax year there is a new education credit available called the American Opportunity Credit which is partially
refundable - she would get 40% of what she would have been entitled to receive based on her out-of-pocket expenses even though she has no tax liability. If she claimed those expenses on her return, that is probably the source of most of her refund.
Again, please realize that without reviewing the details of your return, and that of your GF, I can only give a general answer. Please consult a reputable tax professional in your own area if you have additional questions; he or she can look over your details and give you a specific answer based on your tax situation.