The definition of qualifying education expenses differs depending on the educational benefit being claimed on your return.

Room and board are NOT considered a qualifying education expense in the following situations:

  • If you are claiming the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit
  • For purposes of determining how much of your scholarship and fellowship income is tax free
  • Excluding bond interest when cashed in under an Education Savings Bond Program

However, you may be able to include room and board as a qualifying education expense in the following situations:

  • Education expenses were paid from a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) or Qualified Tuition Program (QTP)
  • To meet the exception for additional tax on early IRA distributions
  • Determining how much of your student loan interest is deductible

Please note that in some situations room and board expenses are only includable if the student was enrolled at least half-time. Additionally, you may need to check with the educational institution to determine the amount paid specifically for room and board. Please see IRS Publication 970 Tax Benefits for Education for additional information.

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