House proposes consolidating education breaks

House Ways and Means members Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Dave Camp (R-MI) have introduced H.R. 2458, the Universal Higher Education and Lifetime Learning Act of 2007, which would consolidate the three existing tax breaks for higher education expenses into a single credit.

The bill would replace the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning credits and the above-the-line tuition and fees deduction with a credit for 50 percent of the first $3,000 of education expenses and 30 percent of the next $5,000 (totaling up to $3,000 for those who spend $8,000 or more in a year). The credit would be available to single filers with incomes up to $80,000 ($160,000 for joint filers).

A similar bill, S. 851, introduced by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), is expected to be taken up by the Senate Finance Committee after the week-long Memorial Day congressional recess.

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