IRS Form 8917: Full Guide to Understanding Tuition and Fees Deduction

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Here’s a great reason to continue your education – The IRS will allow you to claim a deduction on your post-secondary tuition and fees! When you or your tax preparer files IRS form 8917, you can deduct a portion of your tuition and fees for all qualifying post-secondary education.

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IRS form 8917 with People Working on Computer

What is the IRS form 8917?

IRS Form 8917 allows you to take a tuition and fee deduction on a qualifying post-secondary course.

When you enroll into a post-secondary school course, the school will send you Form 1098-T. This form will allow you to file your tuition and fees deduction.

You will only be allowed to deduct the amount stated on the Form 1098-T.

Other educational costs such as books, equipment, room & board can not be deducted with IRS form 8917.

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Example Scenario for Form 8917

Becky is a single 26 year old high school guidance counselor who is enrolled in the Masters Program for Psychology at the University of Georgia. Her in-state tuition and fees during the 2019 tax year was $11,357.

Her additional costs for textbooks, room and board were $7,289. Becky received a Form 1098-T from the University of Georgia which indicated a tuition and fee cost of $11,357.

Becky’s salary as a high school guidance counselor is $48,700. Her salary as a single tax filer is under the $80,000 adjusted gross income (AGI) single filer limit for IRS Form 8917 eligibility.

Therefore, she will qualify for the Tuition and Fees Deduction. She will be able to file IRS Form 8917 and include $11,357 on the form for the 2019 tax year. Becky’s maximum deduction will be $4,000.

What to Know About this IRS Tax Form

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding IRS Form 8917.

How to fill out IRS form 8917 students in college studying

What is the tuition and fees deduction Form 8917?

The tuition and fees deduction Form 8917 is a form that allows you to deduct a portion of your qualifying post-secondary education during a given tax year.

How many courses do you need to attend to qualify for the deduction?

You only need to take one course during the tax year to qualify for the deduction. Even if you drop out, you can still qualify for the deduction if the school does not issue you a refund.

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What is the difference between form 8863 and 8917?

Both IRS form 8863 and IRS form 8917 offer tax savings for education expenses and are often confused with each other.

Here is the main difference between form 8863 and form 8917:

  • Form 8873 gives you the Tuition and Fees Deduction
  • IRS Form 8917 offers you two different tax deductions – the Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
  • Form 8873 is a tax deduction while Form 8917 is a tax credit. A deduction reduces your taxable income while a tax credit gives you a dollar for dollar reduction on your taxes.

What courses do not qualify for Form 8917?

The following courses will not qualify if taken at a post secondary school:

  • Courses or any other education involving games, sports or hobbies
  • Non-credit courses (Exceptions are non-credit courses that is part of a student’s degree program or a course that helps the student acquire a job or improve job skills)

Can I take the tuition and fees deduction?

You can take the tuition and fees deduction if you have taken at least one course from a qualifying post-secondary school in a tax year.

IRS form 8863 college library with books

Does Form 1098-T affect Form 8917?

Form 1098-T is the form that is issued by the school to show how much tuition and fees that you paid to the school during the tax year.

You will need to submit Form 1098-T in order to file Form 8917.

What is the deduction limited, per tax year. Form Form 8917?

The most that you can deduct during a tax year is $4,000 for tax year 2019. If you spend more than

$4,000, then that amount can not be deducted. Also, the excess cost can not be carried over to the next year.

What post-secondary schools qualify for Form 8917?

A qualifying school must be an educational program that is eligible for the Federal student financial aid program.

The qualifying school will typically require a high school or GED diploma before enrolling.

Man reading email for IRS form 8917

Can I make deductions for tuition that I prepaid for the next year?

Yes, you can take a deduction if you paid this year for a course that you will be taking the next year. However, the course will have to start before April 1 of the next year.

Is there an income limit to using IRS Form 8917?

Yes. If you are single and have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of more than $80,000 or if you are married and have an AGI over $160,000 then you will not be able to qualify for the tuition and fees deduction.

Is there a residency requirement to file Form 8917?

There is no residency requirement to file Form 8917.

What information do I need to have to fill out IRS Form 8917?

IRS Form 8719 is a relatively short IRS form that is only half a page long. Here is the information that you will need to have in order to complete the form:

  • Student name
  • Student social security number
  • Adjusted qualified expenses (tuition & fees)
  • Your adjusted gross income

Who can not file Form 8917?

You can not file Form 8917 if:

  • Your filing status is married and filing separately.
  • Someone can claim you as a dependent.
  • Your AGI is over $80,000 as a single filer.
  • If your AGI is over $160,000 as a married filer.
  • You are a non-resident alien and you didn’t elect the non-resident alien tax status.

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3 Easy Tips to Remember for Form 8917

  1. Make sure that the course(s) that you are taking is eligible for the Form 8917 deduction.
  2. Make sure that your AGI is below the limit to be eligible for the Form 8917 deduction.
  3. Ask your school or university where you will receive Form 1098-T.
How to claim a tax deduction for college tuition with IRS form 8917 with woman in front of class
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Getting your tuition and fee deduction this year

IRS Form 8917 allows you to claim a tax deduction for your post-secondary education expenses. Be sure to check if you qualify for the Tuition and Fees Deduction before you enroll.

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Nikida Metellus

Nikida Metellus is a financial freedom advocate, author, and the reimagined voice behind, now focused on helping you achieve a debt-free life and financial success. Based in Orlando, Florida, she combines her love for theme parks with actionable financial strategies, offering a unique perspective on balancing fun and finances. As the author of Complete Tax Planning Guide, she has now expanded her expertise to guide you on the road to financial freedom. Co-founder of Bramework and a coffee enthusiast at heart, Nikida is committed to empowering you with practical tips and insights to manage your money wisely. When she's not blogging or exploring Florida's attractions, she enjoys quality time with her husband and two daughters. Welcome to your journey toward a financially free life!