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I paid $2714.00 tuition for my son in 2014. But my company reimbursed me 100%. Should I skip the tuition part?

My initial thought was to ignore it, but I did purchase a lot textbooks. So I have to itemize the items.

So how to deal with the issue?

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From Tax Benefits for Education

Student-activity fees and expenses for course-related books, supplies and equipment are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees and expenses must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.

It seems to me the books are not a deduction unless the above criteria is met.

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  • So how to understand the term "attendance"? The books were customized to the institution only, which means they are not available online such as amazon.com etc. The assignments were from the books.
    – Love
    Feb 21 '15 at 16:24
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    @Love: What it means is that it only applies to books you had to buy for the classes the student was enrolled in. If you bought extra books as study aids, etc., those don't count. Most classes have a list of required textbooks. These are required for the class and would count. (Depending on what credit you claim, that is. For AOTC, you can deduct textbook costs even if you don't buy them from the school. For other credits it appears you would have to buy them from the campus bookstore to qualify.)
    – BrenBarn
    Feb 21 '15 at 17:41
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The money from the employer is counted as income for you, and should be included in the numbers on your W-2.

You also have tuition you paid. That is an educational expense. That would generally be a tax credit if you qualify for those educational tax credits. If the money from the employer was counted as income you can use also claim tuition expenses. If the money wasn't included as income you then can't claim the tuition as an educational expense.

My experience has been that expenses such as books have not been covered, but could be paid for with the money from a 529. Money to cover mandatory fees: such as lab fees and a fee that all students must pay can be counted as tuition expenses.

Regarding customized books, those are much harder to prove. If you were to count that particular book as a tuition expenses, and were audited, you would have to show them the book to prove it. Most books aren't mandatory. Also if you do want to claim the books as an expense, remember to account for the money that is returned if any are sold back to the bookstore at the end of the term.

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