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Do I need to report 1098-T if I got a scholarship even if Plan 529 covered the rest of my tuition?

My school tuition is covered by Plan 529 funds sent directly to the school. My understanding is that if the Plan 529 funds are used entirely to cover tuition, and I have no other educational expenses outside of that, I don't need to report the 1098-T or the 1099-Q and instead just keep them for my records. However, I received a small scholarship of ~$300 from the school which was applied towards tuition, and this is reported in Box 5 of the 1098-T. Because of this scholarship, do I need to report the 1098-T?
 
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2 Replies
ThomasM125
Expert Alumni

Do I need to report 1098-T if I got a scholarship even if Plan 529 covered the rest of my tuition?

You don't need to report the 1098-T if your qualifying education expenses are more that your scholarship income, otherwise you should report it as you may have taxable scholarship income. 

 

If you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return, they can enter the 1098-T form on their tax return as they may be entitled to an education credit on their tax return. However, to the extent they use your education expenses to qualify for an education credit, you can 't use them to exclude your scholarship income and income your form 529 plan from taxation on your tax return.

 

Also, you can use room and board expenses to exclude your 529 plan income from taxation, even though they can't be used for the education credit.

 

 

 

 

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Hal_Al
Level 15

Do I need to report 1098-T if I got a scholarship even if Plan 529 covered the rest of my tuition?

Simple answer: you can ignore both the 1099-Q and 1098-T.  The 1099-Q and the  1098-T are only informational documents. The numbers on them are not required to be entered onto your (or your student's) tax return.

 

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. 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. You would still have to do the math to see if there were enough expenses left over for you to claim the tuition credit. You also cannot count expenses that were paid by tax free scholarships. You cannot double dip! 

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." 

 

You can ignore the 1098-T because $300 is not enough to report (unless your total other income is more than $12,000). 

 

However, if you are a dependent, your parents may be able to claim the tuition credit, if their income is less than $180K ($90K filing single).  In that case you (or they) might need to report some of the 1099-Q, as income.  If this is the case, 

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 charge. If the student lives at home, only the school's board charge for on campus students. 
  • 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?

________________________________________________________________________________________

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 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 even though it was "his" money that paid 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. 
Example:
  $10,000 in educational expenses(including room & board)

   -$3000 paid by tax free scholarship***

   -$4000 used to claim the American Opportunity credit

 =$3000 Can be used against the 1099-Q (usually on the student’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

You have $1120 of taxable income  

 

**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. 

 

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