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1099-Q (QTP/529) reports taxable income even though my qualified expenses exceeds the 1099-Q distribution

My 1099-Q reports distribution of $70K ($48K basis and 22K earnings).

My daughter's reported college expenses are: 

  • Tuition paid (from 1098-T): $63K
  • Other qualified room & board expenses: $18K
  • Scholarship (from university, reported on 1098-T):  $28K

My qualified expenses ($63K+$18K = $81K) exceeds distribution of $70K.


1) Why is Turbotax reporting taxable Income from 1099-Q of $5348 ? Where can i see the breakdown of how it arrived at this number?

2) I was told there's a "college tuition" tax credit in for parents in 2023. How do i claim this credit? Didn't find this in Turbotax Premier

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2 Replies
Expert Alumni

1099-Q (QTP/529) reports taxable income even though my qualified expenses exceeds the 1099-Q distribution

You are not required to enter your 1099-Q in your tax return, if your qualified education expenses exceed the distribution amount.


Just save it and documentation of what you paid for your records.


Here's more info on Form 1099-Q


However, if you received a 1098-T showing a larger amount in Box 1 (Tuition) than in Box 5 (Scholarships), you may be eligible for Education Credits, so do enter this in your return.


Here's details on How to Enter a 1098-T.




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Level 15

1099-Q (QTP/529) reports taxable income even though my qualified expenses exceeds the 1099-Q distribution

Your  qualified expenses  are not $63K+$18K = $81K.  Your qualified expenses are $63K + 18K - 28K = $53K.


The calculations will show on the 1099-Q work sheet and go something like this $53K / $70K =75.7% of the 529 distribution is qualified. 24.3% is non qualified. 24.3% of the box 2 amount (earnings) on the 1099-Q is taxable. 


If you claim $4000 (the maximum needed) of the tuition for "American Opportunity (Tuition) Credit (AOTC), and you should, the taxable amount will go up a little.  There are some other adjustments we can make to lessen the tax.

Provide the following info for more specific help:

  • Are you the student or parent.
  • Is the  student  the parent's dependent.
  • Box 1 of the 1098-T
  • box 5 of the 1098-T
  • Any other scholarships not shown in box 5
  • Does box 5 include any of the 529/ESA plan payments (it should not)
  • Is any of the Scholarship restricted; i.e. it must be used for tuition
  • Box 1 of the 1099-Q
  • Box 2 of the 1099-Q
  • Who’s name and SS# are on the 1099-Q, parent or student (who’s the “recipient”)?
  • Room & board paid. If student lives off campus, what is school's R&B on campus charge. If he lives at home, the school’s R&B “allowance for cost of attendance” for student living with parents.
  • Other qualified expenses not included in box 1 of the 1098-T, e.g. books & computers
  • How much taxable income does the student have, from what sources
  • Are you trying to claim the tuition credit (are you eligible)?
  • Is the student an undergrad or grad student?
  • Is the student a degree candidate attending school half time or more?


Qualified Tuition Plans  (QTP 529 Plans) Distributions

General Discussion

It’s complicated.

For 529 plans, there is an “owner” (usually the parent), and a “beneficiary” (usually the student dependent). The "recipient" of the distribution can be either the owner or the beneficiary depending on who the money was sent to. When the money goes directly from the Qualified Tuition Plan (QTP) to the school, the student is the "recipient". The distribution will be reported on IRS form 1099-Q. 
The 1099-Q gets reported on the recipient's return.** The recipient's name & SS# will be on the 1099-Q.
Even though the 1099-Q is going on the student's return, the 1098-T should go on the parent's return, so you can claim the education credit. You can do this because he is your dependent.

You can and should claim the tuition credit before claiming the 529 plan earnings exclusion. The American Opportunity Credit (AOC or AOTC) is 100% of the first $2000 of tuition and 25% of the next $2000 ($2500 maximum credit). The educational expenses he claims for the 1099-Q should be reduced by the amount of educational expenses you claim for the credit.
But be aware, you can not double dip. You cannot count the same tuition money, for the tuition credit,  that gets him an exclusion from the taxability of the earnings (interest) on the 529 plan. Since the credit is more generous; use as much of the tuition as is needed for the credit and the rest for the interest exclusion. Another special rule allows you to claim the tuition credit regardless of whose money was used to pay the tuition.
In addition, there is another rule that says the 10% penalty is waived if he was unable to cover the 529 plan withdrawal with educational expenses either because he got scholarships or the expenses were used (by him or the parents) to claim the credits. He'll have to pay tax on the earnings, at his lower tax rate (subject to the “kiddie tax”), but not the penalty.


Total qualified expenses (including room & board) less amounts paid by scholarship less amounts used to claim the Tuition credit equals the amount you can use to claim the earnings exclusion on the 1099-Q. 
  $10,000 in educational expenses(including room & board which is only qualified for the 1099-Q)

   -$3000 paid by tax free scholarship***

   -$4000 used to claim the American Opportunity credit

 =$3000 Can be used against the 1099-Q (on the recipient’s return)


Box 1 of the 1099-Q is $5000

Box 2 is $2800

3000/5000=60% of the earnings are tax free; 40% are taxable

40% x 2800= $1120

There is  $1120 of taxable income (on the recipient’s return)


**Alternatively; you can just not report the 1099-Q, at all, if your student-beneficiary has sufficient educational expenses, including room & board (even if he lives at home) to cover the distribution. You would still have to do the math to see if there were enough expenses left over for you to claim the tuition credit. Again, you cannot double dip!  When the box 1 amount on form 1099-Q is fully covered by expenses, TurboTax will enter nothing about the 1099-Q on the actual tax forms. But, it will prepare a 1099-Q worksheet for your records, in case of an IRS inquiry.

On form 1099-Q, instructions to the recipient reads: "Nontaxable distributions from CESAs and QTPs are not required to be reported on your income tax return. You must determine the taxability of any distribution." 

***Another alternative is have the student report some of his scholarship as taxable income, to free up some expenses for the 1099-Q and/or tuition credit. Most people come out better having the scholarship taxable before the 529 earnings. A student, with no other income, can have up to $13,850 of taxable scholarship (in 2023) and still pay no income tax. 


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