“Can I still utilize the Hope Credit/American Opportunity Act due to the fact that my degree was in Communications the first time around, but now I am pursuing the field of Nursing. I know that the credit is typically limited to being claimed only 4 time (formerly 2 times).”-----> The Hope scholarship credit originally applied only to the first two years of college has changed. The American opportunity tax credit can be claimed for expenses for the first four years of post-secondary education. Congress wrote the law by substituting the number 4 wherever the number 2 existed in current law. This means that the credit is only available for a maximum of 4 tax years and is only available for the first 4 years of post-secondary education. You can take the AOC as long as the eligible student is classified as either a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior by the school and you have not already taken the Hope or AOC for 4 tax years. As the Hope was only available for 2 tax years, no one has used up their 4 tax years.This also means that you can pick whichever years you want to use as long as the eligible student has not gone beyond being classified as a senior.
“First off, I'm not even sure if I took these credits back then because it's been so long ago, but in addition to that, I think my parents actually claimed me as a dependent back then, therefore meaning that THEY took the credit.”---->I guess it depends on the situation; as long as there were qualified education expenses for you, as a dependent during a tax year, either you or your parents, but not both of you, can claim an American opportunity credit(HOPE credit) for your education expenses for that year. For your paretns to claim an AOC for your edu. expenses, they needed to also claim an exemption for you.They could do this by listing your name and other required information on Form 1040 (or Form 1040A).So, as long as they claimed an exemption on their tax return for you, an eligible student who was their dependent, they can treat any expenses paid (or deemed paid) by you, their dependent , as if they had paid them.So, they can include these expenses when figuring the amount of their American opportunity credit. If they claimed an exemption for you who was an eligible student, only they can include any expenses they paid when figuring the amount of the American opportunity credit. If someone other than your parents, or you, (such as a relative or former spouse) may make a payment directly to an eligible educational institution to pay for your qualified education expenses. In this case, you are treated as receiving the payment from the other person and, in turn, paying the institution. If they claimed an exemption on their tax return for you, the they are considered to have paid the expenses. If neither they nor anyone else claimed an exemption for you, only you, the dependent ,can include any expenses they paid when figuring the American opportunity credit.If they didin’t claim an exemption on their tax return for you, the dependent who was an eligible student , then you can claim the American opportunity credit.