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Fillable Form 8917 (2020)

Use Form 8917 to figure and take the deduction for tuition and fees expenses paid.

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What is Form 8917?

Form 8917, Tuition and Fees Deduction, is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayers use to figure and take the deduction for tuition and fees expenses they paid in a calendar year.

The adjusted qualified education expenses paid to an eligible educational program or institution will determine the deduction.

Who are eligible for the deduction?

If you, your spouse, or a dependent you claim on your tax return was a student enrolled at or attending an eligible institution, you may be able to qualify to take the deduction. To claim the deduction for education expenses, such as tuition and fees, you must have paid the expenses in the current year.

However, there are situations that prohibit you to claim the tuition and fees deduction.

According to the instructions section of Form 8917, you cannot claim the deduction if any of the following apply:

  • Your filing status is married filing separately.
  • Another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. You can’t take the deduction even if the person doesn’t actually claim exemption.
  • Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), as figured on Line 5, is more than $80,000 ($160,000 if filing a joint return).
  • You were a nonresident alien for any part of the year and didn’t elect to be treated as a resident alien can be found in Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Moreover, you cannot claim a tuition and fees deduction for any student if you or anyone else claim an American opportunity or lifetime learning credit (Form 8863, Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits)) in the current year for expenses of the student for whom the qualified education expenses were paid. However, a state tax credit won’t disqualify you from claiming a tuition and fees deduction.

The law requires a taxpayer or a dependent to have received a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from an eligible educational institution to be qualified the claim the tuition and fees deduction, American opportunity credit, or the lifetime earning credit.

How to fill out Form 8917?

Form 8917 is a single-page document. Provide all the required information to avoid any problems in claiming tuition and fees deduction.

Name(s) shown on return

Enter your full legal name as it appears on your return.

Your social security number

Enter your social security number (SSN).

Line 1a — Student’s name

Enter the full legal name of the student.

If you have more than three qualified students for the tuition and fees deduction, enter “See attached” next to Line 1 and attach a statement with the required information for each additional student. Include the amounts from Line 1, Line 1c, for all students in the total you enter on Line 2.

Line 1b — Student’s social security number

Enter the social security number of the student, as shown on your tax return.

Line 1c — Adjust qualified expenses

Enter the amount of adjusted qualified expenses.

The expenses must have been paid for the student in the current year for academic periods beginning in the current year but before April 1 of the following year.

Line 2

Enter the sum of the amounts on Line 1c.

Line 3

Enter the amount from your total income line of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors.

Line 4

For 2018

Enter the total amounts on your 2018 Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 23 through line 33, plus any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 36.

For 2019 and 2020

Enter the total amounts on your 2019 Schedule 1 (Form 1040 or 1040-SR), from line 10 to line 20, plus any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040 or 1040-SR), line 22.

For later years

Visit the official website of IRS to see if the line references above for 2019 have changed.

Line 5

Enter the difference when you subtract Line 4 from Line 3.

You are not eligible to take the deduction if the result shows more than $80,000 or $160,000 if married filing jointly.

If you are filing a Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, or Form 4563, Exclusion of Income for Bona Fide Residents of American Samoa, or you’re excluding income from Puerto Rico, see The Effect of the Amount of Your Income on the Amount of Your Deduction in Pub. 970 to provide the appropriate amount to enter on Line 5.

Line 6

Tuition and fees deduction

Mark YES if the amount on Line 5 is more than $65,000 or $130,000 if married filing jointly. Then, enter the smaller amount of line 2, or $2,000. Otherwise, mark NO. Then, enter the smaller amount of Line 2, or $4,000.

Also, include the amount on Line 21 of the 2019 and 2020 Schedule 1 Form 1040 or 1040-SR or Line 34 of the 2018 Schedule 1 Form 1040.

Additional information from the instructions section of Form 8917

What is an eligible educational institution?

An eligible educational institution is generally any accredited public, nonprofit, or proprietary (private) college, university, vocational school, or other postsecondary institution. Also, the institution must be eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the Department of Education. Virtually all accredited postsecondary institutions meet this definition.

An eligible educational institution also includes certain educational institutions located outside the United States that are eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the Department of Education.

What are the qualified education expenses?

qualified education expenses are amounts paid in the current year for tuition and fees required for the student’s enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. Required fees include amounts for books, supplies, and equipment used in a course of study, if required to be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. It doesn’t matter whether the expenses were paid in cash, by check, by credit or debit card, or with borrowed funds.

Qualified education expenses include nonacademic fees, such as student activity fees, athletic fees, or other expenses unrelated to the academic course of instruction, only if the fee must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. However, fees for personal expenses (described below) are never qualified education expenses.

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