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I took over paying my mother's monthly PLUS loan payments, taken out for my education. (Sallie Mae autodeducts the monthly payments from my checking account.) Can I count the 1098-E for that account on my own returns, though the loan is technically under my mother's name?

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No, you cannot. See the IRS instructions:

Generally, you can claim the deduction if all of the following requirements are met.

  • Your filing status is any filing status except married filing separately.

  • No one else is claiming an exemption for you on his or her tax return.

  • You are legally obligated to pay interest on a qualified student loan.

  • You paid interest on a qualified student loan.

You're not legally obligated to pay the interest, your mother is.

Your mother cannot claim it because she was not the one who paid the interest.

  • Very clear. Thank you! But (and sorry, unrelated), I can count this toward claiming my mother as a dependent, right? Because whether I'm buying her groceries and necessities or taking the loan payments off her shoulders, either way I'm relieving her of that amount. (Plus family phone bills, Internet bills, etc.) – Andrew Cheong Apr 8 '14 at 7:21
  • @Andrews yes you can. You can also give your mom a gift, and then she may have enough money to pay off the loan.... If the payments are less than $14k a year, that is... Check with a licensed tax professional. – littleadv Apr 8 '14 at 7:22
  • Ah, gotcha. I'm tempted to ask yet another question but this one's a little too tangential; I'll write up a new question. Thanks! – Andrew Cheong Apr 8 '14 at 7:24

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