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sololay12
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She went to a community college and paid for it with the family money.  So I'm just wondering if we can use that as an expense or not. And she also has SSN because she's gotten an OPT the year before.
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chambrlnp
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

If you and she can file a joint return (form 1040), then you are eligible to claim one of the education benefits on that return.  The most important of these are the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the Tuition and Fees deduction.

Since she is in the US on an F-1 visa, and therefore, I assume, not a resident for tax purposes, you and she can only file a joint return if you, her husband, are a resident for tax purposes as of 12/31/16 - that is, a citizen, a green card holder, or someone who passes the substantial presence test.   For the details of this, refer to IRS publication 519, chapter 1.

Taxpayers who are non-resident aliens filing form 1040NR, and also any taxpayer using the "married filing separately" status, are not eligible to claim any of the above education benefits.

Reference: pub 519, section titled "Tax Credits and Payments"

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6 Replies
chambrlnp
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

If you and she can file a joint return (form 1040), then you are eligible to claim one of the education benefits on that return.  The most important of these are the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the Tuition and Fees deduction.

Since she is in the US on an F-1 visa, and therefore, I assume, not a resident for tax purposes, you and she can only file a joint return if you, her husband, are a resident for tax purposes as of 12/31/16 - that is, a citizen, a green card holder, or someone who passes the substantial presence test.   For the details of this, refer to IRS publication 519, chapter 1.

Taxpayers who are non-resident aliens filing form 1040NR, and also any taxpayer using the "married filing separately" status, are not eligible to claim any of the above education benefits.

Reference: pub 519, section titled "Tax Credits and Payments"

sololay12
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

Thank you for your answer. And I'm sorry I forgot to mention that I'm a US Citizen. So I can claim her education expenses? How do i acquire tax from from her school, since she was a F-1 Student?
chambrlnp
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

she should receive a form 1098-T from the school.  If not, you can use her financial statement from the school, which will show the amounts she paid.  Review IRS publication 970 to learn the details.
sololay12
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

Sorry about the late response. We saw her 1098-t from 2013 and 2012 but non from 2014 and 2016 which she paid for school. Don't know why. But we are going to go to school to see if we can get last year 1098-t. Thanks.
sololay12
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

I found this on IRS website

Who Can't Claim the Credit?

"You (or your spouse) were a nonresident alien for any part of 2016 and the nonresident alien didn't elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens."

But since we are married in Nov 2016 does it mean we can't claim?
chambrlnp
New Member

My wife pays tuition as F-1 student before we got married and she applied for green card. Can I claim her tuition as an expense? She pay out of pocket not a loan.

You can claim if and only if you and she file a joint return.  This is the meaning of "elect to be treated as a resident alien.   See first paragraph of my original answer.

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