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Can I deduct money i I paid for family college

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Expert Alumni

Can I deduct money i I paid for family college

Possibly. You must be able to claim that family member as a dependent, amongst other limitations:


Qualified Education Expenses

Qualified education expenses are tuition, fees, and course materials required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution.

Credit is allowed for expenses paid in 2019 for an academic period beginning in 2019 or in the first three months of 2020. Qualified expenses can be paid with borrowed funds. If a student withdraws, expenses qualify unless refunded.


Education tax credits can help you with higher education costs by reducing the amount of tax you owe. There are two credits available, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. 


American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

You can use this credit for the first four years of college when working towards a degree.

  • Maximum credit is $2,500 per eligible student.
  • Must be enrolled at least half time for at least one semester during the tax year.
  • Up to $1,000 can be refunded to you.

Lifetime Learning Credit

There is no limit on the number of years you can use this credit for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses, including ones to improve job skills.

  • Maximum credit is $2,000 per tax return.
  • Can be used when you're only taking one class.
  • You don't need to be working towards a degree.
  • None of the credit is refundable.

Here are the AOTC requirements:


The student must be the taxpayer, spouse, or a dependent claimed by the taxpayer. The student must meet all the following requirements to be eligible.

• The student has not already claimed the American Opportunity Credit in at least four prior tax years.

• The student had not completed the first four years of postsecondary undergraduate education before the tax year as determined by the educational institution.

• For at least one academic period beginning during the tax year, the student was enrolled at least half time in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.

• The student had no federal or state felony conviction for possessing or distributing a controlled substance as of the end of the tax year.


Tuition and Fees Deduction 

Taxpayers may deduct qualified education expenses they paid for eligible students up to:

• $4,000 if modified AGI is $65,000 or less ($130,000 or less MFJ)

• $2,000 if modified AGI is $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less MFJ)

• $0 if modified AGI is over $80,000 ($160,000 MFJ)


Who cannot claim the Tuition and Fees Deduction 

No deduction is allowed if:

• Filing status is MFS.

• The taxpayer can be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return. The taxpayer cannot take this deduction even if the other person does not actually claim the taxpayer as a dependent.

• The taxpayer or spouse was a nonresident alien for any part of the year who did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes.


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Level 15

Can I deduct money i I paid for family college

If you are unable to claim the tuition credit or deduction, because the student was not your dependent, the family member (usually the  parent) who does claim the student can count your payments in claiming the credit for himself.  If the student is no one's dependent, he can count your payments on his return.

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