Is Your Student Loan Tax Deductible?

The short answer is no but the interest you pay on your student loans may be deductible.

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The short answer is "no--your student loan is not deductible." However, the interest you pay on your student loans can be deductible up to an annual limit.

Who Qualifies for the Student Loan Interest Deduction

The interest you pay on your student loan payments each year is deductible only if:

  • the loans were used to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and equipment, transportation, or other necessary education expenses for you, your spouse, or a person who was your dependent when you took out the loan
  • the loan was not obtained from a person related to you
  • the student was enrolled at least half-time in any college, university, vocational school, or other accredited postsecondary educational institution
  • you and your spouse, if filing jointly, are not claimed as dependents on someone else’s tax return
  • no one else is claiming an exemption for you on his or her tax return
  • you have any filing status except not married filing separately, and
  • you don't exceed the income limits.

The deducting is phased out and then eliminated entirely as your income rises. You're entitled to the full deduction only if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $60,000 if single, or $120,000 if you're married filing jointly. The deduction is phased out for singles with MAGI of $60,000 to $75,000, and married filing jointly whose MAGI is $120,000 to $150,000. Singles with MAGI over $75,000 and marrieds filing jointly with MAGI over $150,000 don't qualify for the deduction. Your MAGI consists of your adjusted gross income on line 38 of Form 1040 minus the student loan interest deduction and tuition and fees deduction.

Amount of Deduction

This deduction is limited to the lesser of $2,500 or the amount of interest you actually paid during the year. Thus, no matter how much interest you paid, your deduction is limited to $2,500. That's not a fortune, but it will save you at least several hundred dollars in income tax.

Any lender to whom you paid more than $600 in interest during the year is supposed to send you an IRS 1098-E form showing how much interest you paid for the year. If you made student loan payments but did not receive a 1098-E, you are still entitled to claim the student loan interest deduction.

How to Claim the Deduction

The student loan interest deduction is an adjustment to income (also called an "above the line deduction") that you claim on the first page of your Form 1040. You do not have to itemize your deductions to claim this deduction.

February 2013

by: , J.D.

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