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My parents are unable to deduct my education, can I deduct from my income?

 
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2 Replies
MinhT1
Expert Alumni

My parents are unable to deduct my education, can I deduct from my income?

If you are a dependent of your parents, only your parents can claim your education credits.

 

The following is an extract of an IRS document:

 

Who can claim a dependent's education expenses.   If a student is claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return, all qualified education expenses of the student are treated as having been paid by that person. Therefore, only that person can claim an education credit for the student. If a student is not claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return, only the student can claim a credit.

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Hal_Al
Level 15

My parents are unable to deduct my education, can I deduct from my income?

Q. My parents are unable to deduct my education, can I claim the education/tuition credit?

A. No.

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, even if you don't qualify as a dependent, 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. 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.

 

Reference: Line 7 instructions for form 8863. https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i8863

 

Technically there is a provision that allows your student-dependent to claim a federal tuition credit, from a practical matter it seldom works out.  A student, under age 24, is only eligible for the refundable portion of the American Opportunity Credit (AOTC) if he/she supports himself by working. She cannot be supporting herself on student loans & grants and 529 plans and parental support.  It is usually best if the parent claims that credit.  

If the student actually has a tax liability, there is a provision to allow him to claim a non-refundable tuition credit. But then the parent must forgo claiming the student as a dependent, and the $500 other dependent credit.  The student must still indicate that he can be claimed as a dependent, on his return. This is worth up to $2500 (AOTC shifts to all non refundable)

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