Who Can Claim an Education Credit
You may be able to claim an education credit if you, your spouse, or a dependent you claim on your tax return was a student enrolled at or attending an eligible educational institution. For 2020, the credits are based on the amount of adjusted qualified education expenses paid for the student in 2020 for academic periods beginning in 2020 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2021. Academic period. An academic period is any quarter, semester, trimester, or any other period of study, as reasonably determined by an eligible educational institution. If an eligible educational institution uses credit hours or clock hours and doesn't have academic terms, each payment period may be treated as an academic period. For details, see Academic period in chapters 2 and 3 of Pub. 970, Tax Benefits for Education. Who can claim a dependent's expenses. If a student is claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return, all qualified education expenses of the student are treated as having been paid by that person. Therefore, only that person can claim an education credit for the student. If a student isn't claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return, only the student can claim the credit. Expenses paid by a third party. Qualified education expenses paid on behalf of the student by someone other than the student (such as a relative) are treated as paid by the student. However, qualified education expenses paid (or treated as paid) by a student who is claimed as a dependent on your tax return are treated as paid by you. Therefore, you're treated as having paid expenses that were paid by the third party. For more information and an example, see Who Can Claim a Dependent's Expenses in Pub. 970, chapters 2 and 3.