Topic Number 457 - Tuition and Fees Deduction
You may be able to deduct qualified tuition and related expenses that you pay for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent, as a tuition and fees deduction. You don't have to itemize, instead you claim the deduction as an adjustment to income on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, by attaching Form 8917, Tuition and Fees Deduction. You may also qualify for other education benefits for education expenses such as:
- The American opportunity tax credit or the lifetime learning credit. See Am I Eligible to Claim an Education Credit?
- An itemized business deduction for work-related education. See Are My Work-Related Education Expenses Deductible? and Topic No. 513
If the educational expenses also qualify as an allowable business expense, then you may be able to claim the tuition and fees deduction or a business expense deduction; however, you can't deduct the same expenses twice.
Additionally, you can't take the tuition and fees deduction if:
- Your filing status is married filing separately.
- You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.
- Your modified adjusted gross income exceeds certain limits. Your deduction is reduced or eliminated depending on your filing status.
- You claim the American opportunity tax credit or lifetime learning credit for the same student in the same tax year.
- You (or your spouse) were a nonresident alien for any part of the tax year and the nonresident alien didn't elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. See Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for information on nonresident aliens.
- The expenses were paid with tax-free scholarships, fellowships, grants, or education savings account funds, such as a Coverdell education savings account, tax-free savings bond interest, or employer-provided education assistance. The same rule applies to expenses you pay with a tax-exempt distribution from a qualified tuition plan (QTP), except that you can deduct qualified expenses you pay only with that part of the distribution that's a return of your contribution to the plan. For more information about QTPs, see Topic No. 313.
To determine expenses that qualify all of the education benefits listed here, refer to Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.