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35mardeek
New Member

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

Turbo Tax indicates I am not eligible for an education deduction or credit.  My child is in college and is an eligible dependent.
1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Carl
Level 15

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

Just in case, here's the gist from IRS Pub 970 in plain English. If your MAGI is to high, then in some cases the student can report all the education stuff on the student's return, if the student is required to file one. (They may not be).

Another thing to check too, if MAGI isn't the issue. There's a screen in the Dependent's section under the Personal Info tab that asks if the "DEPENDENT" provided more then 50% of "THEIR OWN SUPPORT". Many read/comprehend/interpret that question backwards and incorrectly select YES. That will automatically disqualify you from claim them as a dependent, as well as disqualify you for any of the education credits. I "think" you're asked that question again in the Education section under the Deductions & Credits tab, but not sure.

College Education Expenses

Colleges work in academic years, while the IRS works in calendar years. So the reality is, it takes you 5 calendar years to get that 4 year degree. With that said:

 - Scholarships and grants are claimed/reported as taxable income (initially) in the year they are received. It does not matter what year that scholarship or grant is *for*

- Tuition and other qualified education expenses are reported/claimed in the tax year they are paid. It does not matter what year they pay *for*.

Understand that figuring out who claims the student as a dependent, and determining who claims the education expenses & credits, is two different determinations. It depends on the specific situation as outlined below. After you read it, I have also attached a chart at the bottom. You can click on the chart to enlarge it so you can read it. If it’s still to hard to read on your screen then right-click on the enlarged image and elect to save it to your computer. Then you can double-click the saved image file on your computer to open it, and it will be even easier to read.

Here’s the general rules gisted from IRS Publication 970 at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf Some words are in bold, italicized, or capitalized just for emphasis. This is because correct interpretation by the reader is everything. Take the below contents LITERALLY, and do not try to “read between the lines”. If you do, you’ll interpret it incorrectly and risk reporting things wrong on your taxes. For example, there is a vast difference between “can be claimed” and “must be claimed”.  The first one indicates a choice. The second one provides no choice.

If the student:

Is under the age of 24 on Dec 31 of the tax year and:

Is enrolled in an undergraduate program at an accredited institution and:

Is enrolled as a full time student for one academic semester that begins during the tax year, (each institution has their own definition of a half time student) and:

the STUDENT did NOT provide more that 50% of the STUDENT’S support (schollarships/grants received by the student ***do not count*** as the student providing their own support)

Then:

The parents will claim the student as a dependent on the parent's tax return and:

The parents will claim all schollarships, grants, tuition payments, and the student's 1098-T on the parent's tax return and:

The parents will claim all educational tax credits that qualify.

If the student will be filing a tax return and:

The parents qualify to claim the student as a dependent, then:

The student must select the option for "I can be claimed on someone else's return", on the student's tax return. The student must select this option ieven f the parent's qualify to claim the student as a dependent, and the parents do not claim them.

Now here’s some additional information that may or may not affect who files the 1098-T. If the amount of scholarships/grants exceeds the amount of qualified education expenses, the parent will know this when reporting the education on their tax return, because the parent will not qualify for any of the tax credits. (They only qualify for tax credits based on out-of-pocket qualified expenses not covered by scholarships/grants.)  Also, the parent’s will not qualify for the credits depending on their MAGI which is different for each credit, and depends on the marital status of the parent or parents.

In the case where scholarships/grants covers “all” qualified education expenses, the parent’s don’t need to report educational information on their dependent student at all – but they still claim the student as a dependent if they “qualify” to claim the student.

 If the scholarships/grants exceed the qualified education expenses, then the student will report the 1098-T and all other educational expenses and scholarships/grants on the student’s tax return. The student will pay taxes on the amount of scholarships/grants that are not used for qualified education expenses. However, if the student’s earned income reported on a W-2, when added to the excess scholarships/grants does NOT exceed $6200, then the student doesn’t even need to file a tax return, and nothing has to be reported.

If the student has any other taxable income not reported on a W-2, and it exceeds $400, (not including taxable portion of scholarships/grants) then most likely it’s considered self-employment income. That will require a tax return to be filed and the student will have to pay the Self-Employment tax on that income.

Finally, regardless of the student’s W-2 earnings, if any taxes were withheld on those earnings and it was less than $6200, then the student should file a tax return so as to get those withheld taxes refunded.

 

1099-Q Funds

 First, scholarships & grants are applied to qualified education expenses. The only qualified expenses for scholarships and grants are tuition, books, and lab fees. that's it. If there is any excess, then it's taxable income. It automatically gets transferred as follows depending on what type of 1040 you’re riling.

1040-EZ excess scholarship income is included on line 1.
1040-A excess scholarship is included on line 7.
1040 Excess scholarhip is included on line 7.

Next, 529/Coverdell funds reported on 1099-Q are applied to qualified education expenses. The qualified expenses for 1099-Q funds are tuition, books, lab fees, AND room & board. That's it. If there are any excess 1099-Q funds they are taxable. The amount is transferred as indicated above with one exception. For the 1040 excess ESA/QTP funds get transferred to line 21 with the annotation “SCH” next to it.

Finally, out of pocket money is applied to qualified education expenses. The only qualified expenses for out of pocket money is tuition, books, and lab fees. Room & board is NOT a qualified expense for out of pocket money.

When you have a 1099-Q it is extremely important that you work through the education section of the program in the order it is designed and intended to be used. If you do not, then there is a high probability that you will not be asked for room & board expenses, and you could therefore be TAXED on your 1099-Q funds.

Finally, if "all" qualified expenses are covered by scholarships, grants, 1099-Q funds and there is ANY of those funds left over, the left over excess is taxable. While the parent can still claim the student as a dependent, it is the student who will report all the education stuff on the student's tax return. That's because the STUDENT pays the taxes on any excess scholarships, grants and 1099-Q funds.


View solution in original post

7 Replies
SweetieJean
Level 15

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

Is your income too high?
35mardeek
New Member

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

Where would l find the limit i can earn to see if that is the problem?
DoninGA
Level 15

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

Go to this IRS website for Eduction FAQ's - <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/qualified-ed-expenses">https://www.irs.gov/credit...>

Q12. Is there an income limit for AOTC?
Q12, Yes. To claim the full credit, your MAGI, modified adjusted gross income (See Q&A 13 for MAGI definition) must be $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less for married taxpayers filing jointly). If your MAGI is over $80,000 but less than $90,000 (over $160,000 but less than $180,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly), the amount of your credit is reduced. If your MAGI is over $90,000 ($180,000 for married taxpayers filing joint), you can't claim the credit.
SweetieJean
Level 15

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

No tuition and fees deduction is allowed if your MAGI is larger than $80,000 ($160,000 if you are married filing jointly). Modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). For most taxpayers, MAGI is adjusted gross income (AGI) as figured on their federal income tax return before subtracting any deduction for tuition and fees.
Carl
Level 15

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

Just in case, here's the gist from IRS Pub 970 in plain English. If your MAGI is to high, then in some cases the student can report all the education stuff on the student's return, if the student is required to file one. (They may not be).

Another thing to check too, if MAGI isn't the issue. There's a screen in the Dependent's section under the Personal Info tab that asks if the "DEPENDENT" provided more then 50% of "THEIR OWN SUPPORT". Many read/comprehend/interpret that question backwards and incorrectly select YES. That will automatically disqualify you from claim them as a dependent, as well as disqualify you for any of the education credits. I "think" you're asked that question again in the Education section under the Deductions & Credits tab, but not sure.

College Education Expenses

Colleges work in academic years, while the IRS works in calendar years. So the reality is, it takes you 5 calendar years to get that 4 year degree. With that said:

 - Scholarships and grants are claimed/reported as taxable income (initially) in the year they are received. It does not matter what year that scholarship or grant is *for*

- Tuition and other qualified education expenses are reported/claimed in the tax year they are paid. It does not matter what year they pay *for*.

Understand that figuring out who claims the student as a dependent, and determining who claims the education expenses & credits, is two different determinations. It depends on the specific situation as outlined below. After you read it, I have also attached a chart at the bottom. You can click on the chart to enlarge it so you can read it. If it’s still to hard to read on your screen then right-click on the enlarged image and elect to save it to your computer. Then you can double-click the saved image file on your computer to open it, and it will be even easier to read.

Here’s the general rules gisted from IRS Publication 970 at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf Some words are in bold, italicized, or capitalized just for emphasis. This is because correct interpretation by the reader is everything. Take the below contents LITERALLY, and do not try to “read between the lines”. If you do, you’ll interpret it incorrectly and risk reporting things wrong on your taxes. For example, there is a vast difference between “can be claimed” and “must be claimed”.  The first one indicates a choice. The second one provides no choice.

If the student:

Is under the age of 24 on Dec 31 of the tax year and:

Is enrolled in an undergraduate program at an accredited institution and:

Is enrolled as a full time student for one academic semester that begins during the tax year, (each institution has their own definition of a half time student) and:

the STUDENT did NOT provide more that 50% of the STUDENT’S support (schollarships/grants received by the student ***do not count*** as the student providing their own support)

Then:

The parents will claim the student as a dependent on the parent's tax return and:

The parents will claim all schollarships, grants, tuition payments, and the student's 1098-T on the parent's tax return and:

The parents will claim all educational tax credits that qualify.

If the student will be filing a tax return and:

The parents qualify to claim the student as a dependent, then:

The student must select the option for "I can be claimed on someone else's return", on the student's tax return. The student must select this option ieven f the parent's qualify to claim the student as a dependent, and the parents do not claim them.

Now here’s some additional information that may or may not affect who files the 1098-T. If the amount of scholarships/grants exceeds the amount of qualified education expenses, the parent will know this when reporting the education on their tax return, because the parent will not qualify for any of the tax credits. (They only qualify for tax credits based on out-of-pocket qualified expenses not covered by scholarships/grants.)  Also, the parent’s will not qualify for the credits depending on their MAGI which is different for each credit, and depends on the marital status of the parent or parents.

In the case where scholarships/grants covers “all” qualified education expenses, the parent’s don’t need to report educational information on their dependent student at all – but they still claim the student as a dependent if they “qualify” to claim the student.

 If the scholarships/grants exceed the qualified education expenses, then the student will report the 1098-T and all other educational expenses and scholarships/grants on the student’s tax return. The student will pay taxes on the amount of scholarships/grants that are not used for qualified education expenses. However, if the student’s earned income reported on a W-2, when added to the excess scholarships/grants does NOT exceed $6200, then the student doesn’t even need to file a tax return, and nothing has to be reported.

If the student has any other taxable income not reported on a W-2, and it exceeds $400, (not including taxable portion of scholarships/grants) then most likely it’s considered self-employment income. That will require a tax return to be filed and the student will have to pay the Self-Employment tax on that income.

Finally, regardless of the student’s W-2 earnings, if any taxes were withheld on those earnings and it was less than $6200, then the student should file a tax return so as to get those withheld taxes refunded.

 

1099-Q Funds

 First, scholarships & grants are applied to qualified education expenses. The only qualified expenses for scholarships and grants are tuition, books, and lab fees. that's it. If there is any excess, then it's taxable income. It automatically gets transferred as follows depending on what type of 1040 you’re riling.

1040-EZ excess scholarship income is included on line 1.
1040-A excess scholarship is included on line 7.
1040 Excess scholarhip is included on line 7.

Next, 529/Coverdell funds reported on 1099-Q are applied to qualified education expenses. The qualified expenses for 1099-Q funds are tuition, books, lab fees, AND room & board. That's it. If there are any excess 1099-Q funds they are taxable. The amount is transferred as indicated above with one exception. For the 1040 excess ESA/QTP funds get transferred to line 21 with the annotation “SCH” next to it.

Finally, out of pocket money is applied to qualified education expenses. The only qualified expenses for out of pocket money is tuition, books, and lab fees. Room & board is NOT a qualified expense for out of pocket money.

When you have a 1099-Q it is extremely important that you work through the education section of the program in the order it is designed and intended to be used. If you do not, then there is a high probability that you will not be asked for room & board expenses, and you could therefore be TAXED on your 1099-Q funds.

Finally, if "all" qualified expenses are covered by scholarships, grants, 1099-Q funds and there is ANY of those funds left over, the left over excess is taxable. While the parent can still claim the student as a dependent, it is the student who will report all the education stuff on the student's tax return. That's because the STUDENT pays the taxes on any excess scholarships, grants and 1099-Q funds.


View solution in original post

teamprine1
New Member

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

I have read through your answer carefully, but I think there is still something wrong in Turbotax. OR I am doing something wrong...

I already know my AGI is too high to qualify for any education credits, but when I Put in my 1099-Q (which has me listed as the Recipient (not beneficiary), but I used the funds to pay for my sons tuition, books, RB)

I get message your AGI is too high you don't qualify for any tuition or fee credits, then I am unable to enter any 1099-T forms and can only report books! 

Did I make a mistake? should I have had the distribution sent to my son instead?

I recall having it sent me because I had to prepay school bill out of my own checking account to arrive before the due date.

OR is my error that I should just not report any of the education info since my AGI is too high.

Hal_Al
Level 15

Not sure why I can't claim college expenses.

You can just not report the 1099-Q, at all, if your student-beneficiary has sufficient educational expenses, including room & board to cover the distribution. You cannot double dip. Be sure you're not claiming expenses paid by tax free scholarships.

When the box 1 amount on form 1099-Q is fully covered by expenses, TurboTax will enter nothing about the 1099-Q on the actual tax forms. But, it will prepare a 1099-Q worksheet for your records.

 

On form 1099-Q, instructions to the recipient reads: "Nontaxable distributions from CESAs and QTPs are not required to be reported on your income tax return. You must determine the taxability of any distribution." 

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