Question

I’m a full-time student who earns income, but someone else paid my tuition. Can I claim any tuition tax credits?

Answer

You can use education payments made by your parents or third parties to claim tuition tax credits if both of these are true:

  • You’re a student.
  • You qualify to claim an education credit.

Payments made on your behalf are considered gifts to the student.

However, if you, your parent, or a third party didn’t pay any qualifying expenses, you can’t qualify for education credits. If you paid for other qualifying expenses besides tuition, you might still be eligible to claim the tuition tax credits.

What qualifies as an education expense varies based on which credit you’re claiming. Ex: Textbooks and course materials qualify for the American Opportunity Credit if they’re required for enrollment. But books won’t qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit unless you’re required to buy them from the institution itself. Buying them at the school bookstore won’t qualify.

Also, if you’re a dependent on anyone’s return, you can’t claim an education credit.

Related Topics

Related Resources

Student Loan Interest Deduction

Learn how to deduct student loan interest with H&R Block. Get information about qualified education expenses and see if a student loan tax deduction applies to you.

Are Political Contributions Tax Deductible? | H&R Block

Are political contributions tax deductible? Before signing a check, learn the difference between charitable giving and political donations at H&R Block.

Earned Income Credit

Learn more about earned income credit eligibility and get tax answers at H&R Block.

Is Volunteer Work Tax Deductible? | H&R Block

Spending your time volunteering is a great way to give back. Learn more about the tax benefits for volunteer work when filing your taxes at H&R Block.