Tuition-paying students at eligible colleges or other post-secondary institutions should receive a copy of Internal Revenue Service Form 1098-T from their school each year. Eligible institutions include most colleges, universities, and vocational schools that are eligible to participate in the Department of Education’s student aid programs. This form provides information about educational expenses that may qualify the student—or the student's parents or guardian, if the student is still a dependent—for education-related tax credits.
Here's how to get to the 1098-T screen if you haven't visited the Education section yet:
- Open (continue) your return, if you don't already have it open.
- Search for 1098t and select the Jump to link at the top of your search results.
- On the Do you want to enter your higher education expenses? screen, answer Yes.
- Answer Yes to Did you get a 1098-T for the year? and Continue.
- On the next screen, you can choose how you'd like to add your 1098-T. You can upload a digital copy from your computer or type it in yourself. Select which option you'd like and Continue.
From the Education Expenses Summary screen you can:
- Select Add A Student if you need to enter a 1098-T for someone else (and then resume steps 4 and 5 above); or
- Select Edit to revisit the 1098-T for a previously-entered school or Add New School to enter a new 1098-T.
Some important tips about entering this form:
- Parents: If the student listed on the 1098-T is your dependent, enter the 1098-T on your return – even if your dependent paid the tuition.
- Students: If you're not being claimed as a dependent, you can enter the 1098-T on your return regardless of who paid the tuition unless it was your employer. In that case, just keep the 1098-T with your tax records.
- Enter your 1098-T exactly as is even if the amounts are wrong (this is common). You'll get a chance to correct this info and enter additional expenses later in the Education interview.
- Leave blank boxes blank. Don't enter 0 for any blank boxes on the form, as this generates errors.
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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 (or your parents) are either eligible for a tuition credit or deduction or possibly the student has taxable scholarship income. Taxable scholarship goes on the student's return.
There's a new urban myth among college students that says they can get a $1000 from the government just for filing a tax form. For most of them, they simply aren't eligible. A full time unmarried student, under age 24, is only eligible for the refundable portion of the American Opportunity Credit if he supports himself by working. You cannot be supporting yourself on parental support, 529 plans or student loans & grants. You usually must have actually paid tuition, not had it paid by scholarships & grants. It is usually best if the parent claims that credit.
You cannot claim a credit if you are, or can be, claimed as a dependent by someone else.
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