Claiming Education Tuition and Fees Can Reduce Your Taxes

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, as explained later under Qualified Education Expenses.

The tuition and fees deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000. This deduction is taken as an adjustment to income. This means you can claim this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). This deduction may be beneficial to you if you cannot take either the Hope or lifetime learning credit because your income is too high.

You may be able to take the Hope or lifetime learning credit for your education expenses instead of a tuition and fees deduction. You can choose the one that will give you the lower tax. See chapters 2 and 3 for details about the credits.

Who Can Claim the Deduction

Generally, you can claim the tuition and fees deduction if all three of the following requirements are met.

  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.  
  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.  
  • The eligible student is yourself, your spouse, or your dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

What Expenses Qualify

The tuition and fees deduction is based on qualified education expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return. Generally, the deduction is allowed for qualified education expenses in connection with enrollment at an institution of higher education or for an academic period beginning in the first three months of the next year. For example, if you paid $1,500 in December for qualified tuition for the Spring  semester beginning in January, you may be able to use that $1,500 in figuring your deduction.

To learn more about claiming Tuition and Fees on your Income Taxes visit the IRS website.

Learn more about taxes in the Military and general tax information.

Related Topics

Military Taxes

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