I purchased a laptop for my son who is a commuter student. All but two class sessions were held online due to the pandemic, and between Thanksgiving and Christmas it was 100% online. The laptop was not purchased from the school; however, he could not attend college without a laptop. There is no way he could make it home in time to attend class on his desktop at home so has to Hotspot it from his car in the campus parking lot. Is this laptop deductible? Thanks!
Simple answer: Yes, a computer is a qualified expense for claiming a tuition credit or deduction. The technicality is that the computer must be "required".
The general consensus, among tax experts, these days, is that a computer is necessary for college.
The only qualified education expenses are tuition, books, and lab fees. That's it. But the "lab fees" category is rather broad and can include the cost of a laptop if the use of a computer is identified (directly or indirectly) as a requirement for any one course in the course syllabus. Now-a-days, one would be hard pressed if they were enrolled as a full time student for the semester, to not have "at least" one class that required a computer.