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What should we do this year for taxes? Would I be eligible for a Lifetime Learning Credit or anything else? Or should my parents clain me- and then would they get some money back they could then give to me? If they can get money this year, can they amend the taxes last year to make me a dependent?

Whether you're a dependent is not a matter of choice, it's a matter of math. If your parents paid more than half your support, you're their dependent whether it works out well or not. Likewise if they didn't. See Publication 501.

To get things down to the essence, if you don't have enough income to pay income tax, there is no education credit that will help you. It sounds to me like your 2000 income was below the amount at which you'd owe income tax, and the $600 refund was a refund of income tax withheld from your paychecks. Thus, you weren't eligible for a rebate check this year. If your 2001 income is again below the taxable level you'll receive a full refund of anything withheld for income tax in 2001.

Aside from that, I don't know of anything in tax law that will help you.

Phil Marti
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