Not always. Keep in mind that the school generally finalizes any 1098-T's to be issued during the 1st week of December each year. So if you pay the fall semester for the next calendar year after that 1098-T is "cut" and before Dec 31, that payment will "NOT" be included in the 1098-T.
Basically, the 1098-T is informational only to the student. It's usually more accurate to use the information from the student's online college account. The student can log into their college account, go to the financials section of their account and get all that they need right there.
When doing the college account thing, it's important to pay attention to "PAYMENT" or "CREDIT" dates, and not the date of the class that payment or credit is for. As a reminder:
- Qualified education expenses are claimed in the tax year they are actually paid. it *does* *not* *matter* what tax year is paid *for*.
- Scholarships, grants and 529 distributions are reported in the tax year they are received. it flat out does not matter what tax year it is *for*.
On academic fees required for enrollment are reported in box 1. Fees not reported may not be eligible for a tuition credit. Common ones are parking fees, Transportation, Insurance, Medical, Student fees (unless required as a condition of enrollment or attendance)
The 1098-T is only an informational document. The numbers on it are not required to be entered onto your tax return. However receipt of a 1098-T frequently means you are either eligible for a tuition credit or deduction or possibly your student has taxable scholarship income.
If you claim the tuition credit, you do need to report that you got one or that you qualify for an exception (the TurboTax interview will handle this)
You claim the tuition credit, or report scholarship income, based on your own financial records, not the 1098-T. In the 1098-T screen, click on the link "What if this is not what I paid the school" underneath box 1. You will then be able to enter the actual amounts paid. You will also reach a screen that allows you to adjust the scholarship amount for "amounts not awarded for 2020 expenses".
Or if you find it easier, just change the numbers in boxes 1& 5 to what your records show. The 1098-T that you enter in TT is not sent to the IRS.