I want to go to nursing school. Can I write off the tuition?

October 08, 2014 by Dave Du Val, EA
Nurse helping woman

Hey Dave,

My wife is a nurse, but she does not have a degree. She is interested in taking classes to get a BSN degree - a bachelor of science in nursing. Her job does not require this degree, but she feels she needs it to be considered equal to co-workers who already have the BSN, or to help her chances if she changed jobs. Would any of her tuition or other education expenses be tax deductible?

Sincerely,

Jason

 

Jason,

Generally, education expenses such as those you mention are deductible as employee business expenses to the extent they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income (and assuming you will itemize deductions), provided that the education will not qualify your wife for a new profession and will maintain and improve the skills needed by her in her present position. That being said, prepare yourselves for a potential uphill battle with the IRS, especially if she changes jobs shortly after receiving the degree. You may be asked to document your circumstances and expenses. More information on deducting work-related educational expenses is available here.

Please also note that there may be educational credits available if after reviewing the requirements you do not feel you qualify for the employee business expense deduction. Your wife may be eligible for the American Opportunity Credit, which may be claimed for up to 4 years of undergraduate education. Also, there is the Lifetime Learning Credit, available to most students. Lastly, there is also a Tuition and Fees Deduction that is currently expired, but will likely be extended by Congress. TurboTax can assist you in finding the best tax outcome amongst the alternatives. More details about tax benefits for education may be found here.

Deductibly Yours,

Dave

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Rhonda D. Guillory, EA
Learning and Development Manager

 

Rhonda was a Seasonal Tax Return Reviewer at TaxAudit before joining the permanent staff as an Audit Representative in 2009. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in the Information Technology field for 15 years before making a career change. Since transitioning to the field of income tax in 2003, she has prepared and analyzed hundreds of tax returns. Rhonda enjoys helping taxpayers and tax professionals learn and understand the fascinating world of income taxes. Currently, she is the Learning and Development Manager.


 

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