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no2personal
New Member

If my daughter is a residence advisor at college and housing and food are free is that considered her paying for half her support?

 
1 Reply
Carl
Level 15

If my daughter is a residence advisor at college and housing and food are free is that considered her paying for half her support?

Absolutely not. There are only two possible ways a student can pay more than half their own support.

 1) The student has a W-2 job or is self-employed and earns enough money to have actually paid more than half of their own support. (Rare, but not impossible for a full time student.)

2) The student has qualified student loans where the student is the primary borrower on the loan, and sufficient funds were distributed to the student during the tax year for them to have provided more than half of their own support. (If the student was not the *primary* borrower on the loan, then it flat out does not count for the student supporting themselves.)

All other income is considered 3rd party support (scholarships, grants, money from parents, Gifts from Aunt Mary, 529 funds, etc.) and flat out does not count for the student supporting themselves.

Also understand that there is no requirement for the parents to provide any support. Not one single penny. The support requirement is on the student, and *only* the student.

It's also possible for the student to have earned a million dollars, yet still not provide more than half their own support, thus meaning the parents' qualify to claim them. FOr example, if the student was awarded $80K in scholarships, grants and 520 funds during the tax year, there is no way on earth that it cost double that for the student's support for the entire tax year - even if a student of Harvard or Yale.

When it comes to figuring support, the IRS looks at "all" third party support first, with the student's earned income and/or borrowed money considered last. The IRS defines support as:

Tuition, books, lab fees
Housing (including utilities)
Clothing
Food
Transportation
Entertainment

Note that support expenses must be reasonable for a college student in incur also. For example, if they spend summer break in Vegas and Lose $10,000 at the poker table, that's not going to fly with the IRS as  'reasonable" entertainment expense. Likewise if they're renting a $10,000 a month penthouse suite to live in while attending college away from home, that's not going to fly with the IRS either. Basically, support expenses must be "reasonable". So no steak and lobster for lunch and dinner every day either. 🙂



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