Who Can Take the Deduction?
You may be able to take the deduction if you, your spouse, or a dependent you claim on your tax return was a student enrolled at or attending an eligible educational institution. The deduction is based on the amount of qualified educational expenses you paid for the student in the tax year for academic periods beginning in the tax year and/or the first 3 months of the following year.
Generally, in order to claim the deduction for qualified education expenses for a dependent, you must have paid the expenses in the tax year and must claim an exemption for the student as a dependent on your tax return (line 6c of Form 1040 or 1040A) For additional information, see Chapter 6 of IRS Pub. 970.
You cannot claim the tuition and fees deduction if any of the following apply.
- Your filing status is married filing separately.
- Another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. You cannot take the deduction even if the other person does not actually claim that exemption.
- Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), as figured on line 5, is more than $80,000 ($160,000 if filing a joint return).
- You were a nonresident alien for any part of the year and did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes.
More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
- You or anyone else claims an American opportunity or lifetime learning credit (Form 8863) with respect to expenses of the student for whom the qualified education expenses were paid. However, a state tax credit will not disqualify you from claiming a tuition and fees deduction. You may only take EITHER the adjustment for tuition and fees OR the education credit, whichever is better for you, not both.
For complete information on this credit, see Form 8917.