Can I deduct my child's student loan interest?

October 29, 2020 by Steve Banner, EA, MBA
Student Loan Interest Deduction

Yes, of course you can – well, maybe. Like so many other tax breaks, credits and deductions that are designed to help taxpayers balance their budget at year-end, the student loan interest deduction for parents comes with a list of conditions that must be met.

Student Loan Interest Deduction Conditions


First of all, the child must have been your dependent when you took out the loan and it must be related to his or her enrollment at least half-time in a program leading to a degree, certificate or other recognized credential at an eligible educational institution. Also, you must be legally responsible for the loan and it must have been taken out for the sole purpose of paying qualified education expenses. This includes tuition, fees, room and board, books and other necessary expenses related to the child’s education program.

How Much Interest Can You Deduct?


As long as you’re not filing your tax return as Married Filing Separately and you didn’t borrow the money from a relative or a qualified employer plan, you can deduct up to $2,500 of your student loan interest expenses each year. However, the amount of your deduction is limited if you are filing jointly with your spouse and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is greater than $140,000. The entire deduction is lost if your MAGI is $170,00 or more. For Single, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) taxpayers, the deduction begins to phase out when MAGI exceeds $70,000 and it is reduced to zero when MAGI is $85,000 or more. These are the income thresholds that apply to 2019 and 2020, and they will likely be adjusted in future years.

Assuming all the above conditions have been met, you can indeed deduct the interest on your child’s student loan – regardless of who actually made the loan payments.

So, if a generous grandmother decides to pay a few months’ worth of the loan installments, not only are you relieved of paying the principal for that period, but you also get to deduct the interest payments on your tax return. It’s not often that the tax code offers you free money like that!



Steve Banner, EA, MBA
Tax Content Developer


Steve Banner began his career in the field of income tax in 1977 and has since gathered business experience in a variety of countries and cultures. In addition to the United States, he has lived and worked for extended periods in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Sweden. Along the way he studied Adult Education and earned a Bachelor of Education, Master of Educational Administration, and MBA. He joined TaxAudit in 2016, where he is a Tax Content Developer.


Recent Articles

Tax Returns, plant, and $100 bills laying on a desk
What happens if your spouse overstated the deductions claimed on the return or substantially understated the income?  Are you still liable for the tax due?
wedding cake split with man on one side and woman on the other
Alimony payments may indeed be tax deductible if the divorce or separation instrument under which they are made was executed prior to 2019.
Double Taxation written on notepad
Most states that have income taxes offer a credit for taxes paid to another state on the same income, although how that credit is calculated is not identical.
File Cabinet with Documents
IRS notice CP05A is sent by the IRS to inform taxpayers that they need more information about the submitted income tax return before a tax refund can be issued.
This blog does not provide legal, financial, accounting, or tax advice. The content on this blog is “as is” and carries no warranties. TaxAudit does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the content of this blog. Content may become out of date as tax laws change. TaxAudit may, but has no obligation to monitor or respond to comments.