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Tax Deductibility of Student Loans

Tax Deductibility of Student Loans
Mark Cappel
UpdatedDec 28, 2011
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    2 min read
Key Takeaways:
  • Learn the 5 qualifications for a student loan tax deduction.
  • A Form 1098-E discloses the interest paid on qualifying student loans.
  • You can deduct up to $2,500 in interest.

Learn if the Interest You Pay on a Student Loan is Deductible on Your Federal Taxes.

Interest paid on student loan debt may be deductible.

Generally speaking, interest paid on personal loans — credit cards, vehicle loans, and signature loans — is not deductible on a tax return. Mortgage interest is the most well-known exception to the interest-not-deductible rule, and can be deductible if the homeowner itemizes their deductions on a Schedule A.

Student loans are deductible if the borrower's modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $75,000 ($150,000 if filing a joint return). MAGI is the adjusted gross income as figured on a federal income tax return before subtracting any deduction for student loan interest. The student loan deduction can reduce the amount of income subject to tax by up to $2,500 in 2010. You do not need to itemize deductions — use a Schedule A — to qualify.

The following IRS table summarizes the education loan interest deduction:

Maximum benefitYou can reduce your income subject to tax by up to $2,500.
Loan qualificationsYour student loan: •must have been taken out solely to pay qualified education expenses, and •cannot be from a related person or made under a qualified employer plan.
Student qualificationsThe student must be: •you, your spouse, or your dependent, and •enrolled at least half-time in a degree program.
Time limit on deductionYou can deduct interest paid during the remaining period of your student loan.
Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI)$150,000 if married filing a joint return; $75,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er).

Source: IRS Publication 970

According the IRS, a borrower may claim the student loan deduction if all of the following apply:

  • You paid interest on a qualified student loan in tax year 2010
  • You are legally obligated to pay interest on a qualified student loan
  • Your filing status is not married filing separately
  • Your modified adjusted gross income is less than a specified amount which is set annually, and
  • You and your spouse, if filing jointly, cannot be claimed as dependents on someone else's return

According the IRS, if you paid $600 or more of interest on a qualified student loan during the year, you will receive a Form 1098-E, Student Loan Interest Statement, from the entity to which you paid the student loan interest.