You can only claim one education credit for any student or expense. If you or your dependent qualifies for both credits, you may want to figure which deduction would give you the best benefit.
If you receive tax-free educational assistance, such as a grant, you need to subtract that amount from your qualified education expenses.
The PATH Act prevents you from filing retroactive returns or amended returns claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) if the reason you are filing is because you now have the type of valid Taxpayer Identificaiton Number (TIN) required for each credit but didn’t have such TIN before the due date of the return.
If for any reason you or one of your family members didn't receive a valid “taxpayer identification number” by the due date of the tax return (including extensions) you can't file a past due return or an amended return to claim any of these credits. A valid taxpayer identification number could be an Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) depending on the requirement for each credit.
For tax years beginning after June 29, 2015, generally 2016 tax year returns, you must have received an IRS Form 1098-T from an eligible educational institution to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit.