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I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

My mom has been claiming me as dependent so far. She paid my fees directly via 529 account my college. But is the benefit for us higher if she doesn't claim me as dependent even though she is paying more than half my expense? If she doesn't claim me as dependent, can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my tax return instead of hers? The 1099-Q is on my name and I seem to be getting >$1000 refund if we did it this way.


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I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

You must check the box that says you can be claimed, if you can be under the rules.  It sounds like you are not providing more than half your total support (including tuition, room and board, medical, travel, entertainment) if your parent is paying a significant amount of your college expenses.  However, you can still claim the AOTC in your name in some cases, but it will be a tiny amount and probably less than your parent could get.


First, no one (you or your parent) can claim any tax credits for any tuition amounts that were paid from the 529.  You already got a tax break, you can't double dip.  Depending your expenses and how much was covered from the 529, you might or might not have additional eligible expenses.  See page 53 here https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf

For example, suppose tuition is $20,000, room and board is $15,000, and your parent paid $20,000 from the 529.  Only tuition is eligible for the AOTC, but you can say that the 529 paid for room and board plus $5000 of the tuition, and the other $15,000 of tuition was paid by other means (money, loans, etc.) so that makes $15,000 of the tuition eligible for the AOTC.  On the other hand, if the parent paid the entire $35,000 from the 529, then no part is eligible for the AOTC.  The 1099-Q goes on your parent's tax return since it is their money.

Then, if you have tuition that is eligible for the AOTC, either you or your parent can claim the credit.  But, since you can be claimed as a dependent, your credit amount will be reduced and will only zero out any income tax you owe, you can't get the extra credit refunded.  If your income is $17,000, your income tax will be about $500, so that is the maximum AOTC you will get.  It means you get a full refund of your withholding, but you don't get any extra free money.  That is only available if you are 24 or older and can't be claimed as a dependent.

Your parent, on the other hand, may be eligible for up to $2500 in AOTC.  Exactly how much depends on their income.  In some cases if your parent's income is so high that they are disallowed, it's better for you to get the $500 than for your parent to get nothing.  But in most cases, your parent's AOTC will be larger than yours.  Your parent also can't claim you as a dependent, so they lose the $500 "other dependent" tax credit. 

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You must always check the box that says "I can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer" because you can be claimed.  But there is a second box that says something like "Will the person who can claim you, actually claim you this year?"  For you to claim the AOTC in your name instead of your parent, you answer "yes" to the first question and "no" to the second question.  Your parent does not claim you, even though they could.  You can get the AOTC, up to your tax owed, but you can't get extra free money.  Your parent loses the AOTC of up to $2500 and loses the $500 other dependent credit.

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Because you are under 24 and your parent is alive, if you don't check the "I can be claimed as a dependent" box, and try to claim the full AOTC, you are almost guaranteed of getting audited.

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6 Replies

I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

It's not your choice....the IRS rules must be followed.

I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

Thank you.  I understand that I have to follow IRS rules. But do IRS rules allow me to not be claimed as dependent even if she is paying for more than half my expenses? Will IRS rules allow me to fill 1099-Q and 1099-T in my tax return as my name is on those forms even though she has paid directly to my college from our 529 account for which I was the beneficiary?

I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

Do you have income earned from working?  And, the 529 definitely complicated things.  

I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

Thank you. I only have < $17000 from my summer internship. That's the only income I have.

I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

You must check the box that says you can be claimed, if you can be under the rules.  It sounds like you are not providing more than half your total support (including tuition, room and board, medical, travel, entertainment) if your parent is paying a significant amount of your college expenses.  However, you can still claim the AOTC in your name in some cases, but it will be a tiny amount and probably less than your parent could get.


First, no one (you or your parent) can claim any tax credits for any tuition amounts that were paid from the 529.  You already got a tax break, you can't double dip.  Depending your expenses and how much was covered from the 529, you might or might not have additional eligible expenses.  See page 53 here https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf

For example, suppose tuition is $20,000, room and board is $15,000, and your parent paid $20,000 from the 529.  Only tuition is eligible for the AOTC, but you can say that the 529 paid for room and board plus $5000 of the tuition, and the other $15,000 of tuition was paid by other means (money, loans, etc.) so that makes $15,000 of the tuition eligible for the AOTC.  On the other hand, if the parent paid the entire $35,000 from the 529, then no part is eligible for the AOTC.  The 1099-Q goes on your parent's tax return since it is their money.

Then, if you have tuition that is eligible for the AOTC, either you or your parent can claim the credit.  But, since you can be claimed as a dependent, your credit amount will be reduced and will only zero out any income tax you owe, you can't get the extra credit refunded.  If your income is $17,000, your income tax will be about $500, so that is the maximum AOTC you will get.  It means you get a full refund of your withholding, but you don't get any extra free money.  That is only available if you are 24 or older and can't be claimed as a dependent.

Your parent, on the other hand, may be eligible for up to $2500 in AOTC.  Exactly how much depends on their income.  In some cases if your parent's income is so high that they are disallowed, it's better for you to get the $500 than for your parent to get nothing.  But in most cases, your parent's AOTC will be larger than yours.  Your parent also can't claim you as a dependent, so they lose the $500 "other dependent" tax credit. 

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You must always check the box that says "I can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer" because you can be claimed.  But there is a second box that says something like "Will the person who can claim you, actually claim you this year?"  For you to claim the AOTC in your name instead of your parent, you answer "yes" to the first question and "no" to the second question.  Your parent does not claim you, even though they could.  You can get the AOTC, up to your tax owed, but you can't get extra free money.  Your parent loses the AOTC of up to $2500 and loses the $500 other dependent credit.

----------

Because you are under 24 and your parent is alive, if you don't check the "I can be claimed as a dependent" box, and try to claim the full AOTC, you are almost guaranteed of getting audited.

I am a 22 year old student. Mom is paying all my expenses/fees. Am I allowed to not be claimed dependent on her return? Can I submit the 1099-Q and 1099-T in my return ?

Thank you very much Opus! You are awesome! I understood very clearly now. That was super helpful.
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