Filing my tax return for 2011?

My dad was supposed to file my 2011 tax return for me, but I just found out that he didn't so now I still need to file it, and have never done it myself before. As of right now I plan on doing it all online. I started to file last night but I came upon a section about school tuition, and I am a student and now I have some questions before I fill it out.

1. If I paid my tuition in December of 2011, but it was for the 2012 school year, can I still enter that amount into the tuition section?

2. If a Pell Grant paid for part of that amount, do I have to subtract that amount from my total tuition paid since that portion did not come out of my pocket, but from the grant?

3. If I do this online, will I need to provide or send in any paperwork showing my tuition statements and what/when I paid?

Thank you for your kind answers.

Update:

I'm not a dependant, and I do not know what a T-1098 or whatever that was called is. Can someone please just answer my 3 questions? Can I get ONE answer that relates at ALL to my questions in a simple 'Yes, you can' or 'No, you cannot' form?

Update 2:

THANK YOU SO MUCH AEROFARE!! PERFECT, BEAUTIFULLY, ARTICULATE, RELEVANT ANSWERS! Thank you so so much.

5 Answers

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  • tro
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    any education expenses or tuition you would be eligible to claim would come to you on a 1098 E or T

    the tuition can be an actual refund, the credit reduces your gross, if you did not get one you probably don't have the credit for 2011

    there are two credits, one is called the Lifetime and the other the American Opportunity Credit

    there are forms at www.irs.gov related to both and they will be found in the 8000 series

    the grant is not reportable income unless you used any of it for something other than education expenses, then it would be income(not likely with Pell grants)

    when you efile you will find that you will replicate the forms, ie. W-2, 1099's etc exactly as they are issued, which preclude your having to mail them in--part of the efficiency of efiling.

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  • 8 years ago

    There is not enough info to know if you are a dependent. Rarely is anything a set yes or no without more info.

    #1 Yes. As long as the school starts by March you can count tuition paid in Dec.

    #2 You can only count out of pocket expenses. Loans are considered out of pocket since they are paid back. You subtract out the grants.

    #3 You do not need to mail in proof. You must have a 1098T from school which shows the tuition paid or billed and the grants. The school MUST send this to the IRS or they will deny your education credit. All last summer the IRS sent out denial letters.

    Source(s): H&R Block tax specialist.
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  • 8 years ago

    First, I would recommend using Turbo Tax online-I use it every year to file my taxes myself and it is great.

    To answer your questions:

    1. You can claim any tuition you paid, regardless of when it was for. For example, since you actually paid the money in December, it doesn't matter if it was for 2012 tuition or if it was for a past loan from 5 years ago...you claim it for the year you pay it.

    2. The Pell grant is free money--you cannot claim that amount. You can only claim the amount you paid out of your own pocket.

    3. When you do it online, you file electronically. You typically do not need to submit any actual paperwork.

    Hope that answered your questions. :)

    Source(s): File my own taxes every year and am a student.
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  • rtfm
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    If you are a dependent of your parents (most college students are) then you don't need to pay any attention to the questions about tuition. Dependents aren't eligible for any of the tuition tax credits. You should have given your 1098-T to your parents. They might be eligible for some of those credits.

    If you are NOT a dependent, then use the information from your 1098-T to answer the questions.

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  • 8 years ago

    You had better find a registered & licensed preparer to assist you. Go to IRS.GOV and see if there is a VITA office located anywhere near to your location. Or, go to IRS.GOV and download or order a free PUB 17 to read and use as a reference. In the world of taxes unless you have some training in the subject matter you are going to wind up with one big headache.

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