Category: Education: Tax Breaks Related to School
Tuition and Fees Deduction
You may be able to deduct qualified education expenses paid during the year for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent(s). You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. The qualified expenses must be for higher education.
The tuition and fees deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000.
Generally, you can claim the tuition and fees deduction if all three of the following requirements are met:
1. You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
2. You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
3. The eligible student is yourself, your spouse, or your dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.
You cannot claim the tuition and fees deduction if any of the following apply:
1. Your filing status is married filing separately.
2. Another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. You cannot take the deduction even if the other person does not actually claim that exemption.
3. Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds limits set by the IRS.
4. You (or your spouse) were a nonresident alien for any part of 2015 and the nonresident alien did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
5. You or anyone else claims an American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning credit in 2015 with respect to expenses of the student for whom the qualified education expenses were paid.
The tuition and fees deduction is based on qualified education expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return. Generally, the deduction is allowed for qualified education expenses paid in 2015 in connection with enrollment at an institution of higher education during 2015 or for an academic period beginning in 2015 or in the first 3 months of 2016.
For example, if you paid $1,500 in December 2015 for qualified tuition for the spring 2016 semester beginning in January 2016, you may be able to use that $1,500 in figuring your 2015 deduction.