Do I Qualify for a Student Loan Interest Deduction?

If you are a recent college grad struggling to pay down your student debt, it may feel like you’ll never catch a break. Fortunately, there is a tax deduction that could help offset a portion of your expenses. Learn more about the student loan interest deduction and how you can claim this write-off on your tax return. Then file with TaxSlayer Simply Free to claim this deduction for free. 

Are student loans tax deductible? 

The student loan interest deduction is specific to the interest you paid on your student loan. It does not apply to your student loan principal, which is not deductible. If you paid $600 or more in interest throughout the tax year, your lender will send you Form 1098-E. This form will report the exact dollar amount you can deduct on your tax return.   

Can I claim the student loan interest deduction?  

You can claim the deduction if you meet all the following requirements:  

  • No one claims you as a dependent  
  • You are legally obligated to pay interest on a qualified student loan 
  • You paid interest on a qualified student loan  
  • Your filing status is not married filing separately 

If your parents are required to pay the loan interest or they claim you as their dependent, you can’t claim the deduction. But if your loans are in your name and you are not a dependent, you can deduct the interest on your tax return. This applies even if your parents paid them for you. 

You must also meet the following income requirements to be eligible for this tax break. The deduction will phase out at specific income thresholds and be unavailable at others.

Filing status Phase-out begins
at
Deduction unavailable at
Single 
Head of household 
Qualifying widow(er) 
 $65,000  $80,000 
Married filing jointly $135,000 $165,000 
Married filing
separately 
Not eligible Not eligible 

Can I claim the student loan interest deduction for my child?   

If you are the parent or legal guardian of a college student, you can claim the deduction if:   

  • You are legally obligated to pay the interest on a qualified student loan  
  • You paid interest 
  • Your filing status is not married filing separately  
  • You claim your child as a dependent on your tax return 

How much is the student loan interest deduction worth? 

If you meet the requirements, you can write off a maximum of $2,500 paid in student loan interest.   

What type of interest can I deduct for my student loans?  

You must use your loan to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, equipment, and other necessary expenses at a qualifying institution. According to the IRS, this includes any “college, university, vocational school, or post-secondary educational institution eligible to participate in a Federal student aid program run by the U.S. Department of Education.”    

If your loan meets these requirements, then you may claim interest on the loan, the loan origination fee, capitalized interest, interest on a refinanced loan, and voluntary interest payments.  

Can I deduct my credit card interest? 

Interest on credit card debt may qualify for this deduction if the credit card or line of credit was used to pay qualified education expenses only.   

Can I claim the student loan interest deduction if I take the standard deduction?   

Yes. The student loan deduction is an adjustment to income. You do not have to itemize your expenses to take it.   

How do I claim the student loan interest deduction?  

When you file with TaxSlayer, we’ll guide you through the steps for claiming the deduction. We’ll make sure you have all the information you need so you’ll get your maximum refund. And now you can file with Simply Free to claim this deduction for free. 

The information in this article is current through tax year 2019. 

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