As an executive at a mission agency, I am working on a doctorate. In 2013, I incurred $1,200 of qualified education expenses (tuition, fees, and books). My employer paid these education expenses directly as part of an educational assistance program. Can I claim any kind of education credit or deduction for these expenses?
Unfortunately, no. According to IRS Publication 970, "You cannot use any of the tax-free education expenses paid for by your employer as the basis for any deduction or credit, including the American opportunity credit and lifetime learning credit."
Generally, "Qualified expenses are amounts paid for tuition, fees and other related expense for an eligible student that are required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution" (irs.gov). Qualified expenses paid by an individual may be eligible for tax deductions or credits.