Students and Taxes

The IRS gives several tax breaks to students and their parents.

The IRS gives several tax breaks to students and their parents.

The Internal Revenue Service understands an education is expensive and gives several tax breaks to college students. These tax breaks come in the form of a tax credit or deduction. Students aren't the only ones who can claim the credits; parents supporting a student can also get a break.

Can You Claim Student Loans on Taxes?

Student loans aren't considered income because you have to repay them; there's no line for them on the tax form. However, if you use the loan to pay for qualifying expenses, you can claim those expenses as deductions. Qualifying expenses can include tuition, books and required fees. As long as you paid for them in the same year you make the claim, you're OK.

Can Student Books & Expenses Be Deducted From Taxes?

If your professor demands you've got to get a book or any other materials to pass the class, you'll want to keep your receipts. The IRS considers these qualified educational expenses. It essentially qualifies them for the American Opportunity Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit or the Tuition and Fees deductions.

Can a Computer Be a Tax Deduction for Students?

College students typically need a computer to write those dreadful reports and do homework. Unfortunately, unless the school’s demands you bring a computer, you can’t deduct the cost of one. This rule applies because most schools have computers on campus exclusively for students. The exception is if you go to school online and your computer is the only way to do your homework.

Can You Write Off Student Instruments on Your Taxes?

It's great to have some form of stress relief like playing an instrument, but don't let your improvisational skills there extend to your taxes. Unless the instrument is required for your degree program, it can't be claimed as a deduction.

Can a Student Be Counted on a Tax Return Up to 22 Years Old?

This may hurt to hear if you're 22, unmarried and a full-time student, but the government still considers you a child. That means your parents can still claim you on their tax returns. The IRS considers you a full-fledged adult when you hit that age and you're not a full-time student.

Can a Full Time Student Over 18 Be Claimed on Federal Taxes?

Unless you have a full-time job and support yourself as a student, your parents can generally claim you on their taxes. Parents get a lot of tax breaks when they claim a kid, especially one in college, but only if you're under 19, or a full-time student under 24.

Can a Student Count His Miles Driven to Class in His Taxes?

This would be a nice tax deduction for money-challenged students, but the IRS isn't neutral when it comes to mileage to and from class: it just says no to this as a valid expense. The lone exception is for someone going to school as a condition of employment. That person can deduct unreimbursed mileage from the job site to the school.

Can Graduate Students Claim Books on Taxes?

Although you won’t get federal grants for graduate classes, the government will let you claim books as tax write-offs. It must be a book the school requires for you to complete a class. You can still claim tuition and fees, supplies and equipment.

Can a Student Claim a Camera as a Tax Write Off?

Because cameras are usually considered a hobby item, the general answer is a sharply focused no. However, if you must have the camera for school, you can then make a case for it as a write off.

Can a Student Claim Themselves if Their Parents Also Claim Them on Federal Taxes?

If you could claim yourself on your taxes, and your parents could claim you on theirs too, tax time wouldn’t be so stressful. The IRS gives an exemption allowance to one person each year, which is $3,800 as of 2012. Unfortunately, only you or your parents can claim the exemption, not both. If you're a full-time student, rely on your parents for money, not married and under 24, parents get first dibs on that break.

Can Rent Expenses for a Child in College Be a Tax Deduction?

Generally speaking, anything you would spend money on even if you weren't in school does not count as a deduction. That includes anything you eat and any place you choose to live.

Can a College Student Renting an Apartment Declare It as Room and Board on Taxes?

The IRS doesn’t give credit for rent or mortgage to adult taxpayers, and the same rule applies to students. Rental costs never qualify as an official educational expense, even if students use some of their grants and loan money to pay that bill.


About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.

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