Qualified Tuition and Expenses
Generally, qualified education expenses are amounts paid for tuition and fees required for the student's enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. It does not matter whether the expenses were paid in cash, by check, credit card, or with borrowed funds.
Qualified education expenses do not include payments for:
Ask the taxpayer if the qualified tuition and expenses were offset by distributions from qualified state tuition programs, Coverdell ESAs, or interest from savings bonds used for higher education expenses. Subtract these from the total payments for tuition and fees.
To help you figure the tuition and fees deduction, the taxpayer should have received Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement. Generally, an eligible education institution must send Form 1098-T or a substitute to each enrolled student by January 31. However, the form only reports "amount billed" or "payments received."
Form 1098-T may have incomplete information. Question the taxpayer to determine the amount of qualified expenses actually paid and adjust this amount by any nontaxable items, such as scholarships or tuition program distributions.