Claiming education expenses can reduce your taxes

Tax season is upon us, so don’t forget that you may be able to deduct qualified education expenses paid during the year for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is “married filing separately” or if another person can claim a tax exemption for you as a dependent.

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 such a deduction, even if you do not itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040).

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.

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 expenses for 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?
Generally, the tuition and fees 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 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.