As a single college student you can deduct tuition and related fees from your taxes. The Tuition and Fees Deduction cuts your taxable income by up to $4,000 per year. You may qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit, which can reduce your tax liability. That may result in a more significant tax break. The Internal Revenue Service still sets specifics on what you can and can't deduct.
The IRS lets you take as much as $4,000 in tuition off your taxes for the year through its Tuition and Fees Deduction. You can write off the money you paid to attend college even if you used a student loan or other borrowed funds. Attending schools such as accredited public, non-profit and privately owned colleges, universities and vocational schools taking part in a Department of Education financial aid program should qualify you for the deduction.
The IRS defines deductible related expenses as student-activity fees and expenses that must be paid to attend classes, like technology fees or distance-learning fees. The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit both include the cost of books, supplies and equipment that wasn't paid directly to the school but was still required to enroll. At the time of publication, the American Opportunity Tax Credit allows you to claim the first $2,000 you spent in qualifying tuition and educational expenses. You can also claim 25 percent of the next $2,000 you spent. The credit's maximum value is $2,500 per year during your first four years of college. The Lifetime Learning Credit lets you claim 20 percent of the first $10,000 spent on tuition and fees with a maximum credit of $2,000 per year, regardless of how many years of college you've completed.
Deducting student loan interest is another way to cut your tax bill, but you must be responsible for making the payments to qualify. You can't deduct the interest if the loan is in a parent's name. You don't have to itemize your other tax deductions when you file to take the interest deduction. You're allowed to claim as much as $2,500 in interest per year at the time of publication.
The IRS won't let you deduct room and board even if you live on campus. You can't deduct a computer if you claim the Tuition and Fees Deduction. A computer is only a qualifying expense when it's required for your courses if you're taking the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit, so you might need a note to verify that. Other non-deductible expenses include travel or transportation costs, parking permits, and student health insurance payments.
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