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Last Updated: 9/5/2017

Qualifying Child for K-12 Education Subtraction and Credit

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To claim education expenses for the K-12 Education Subtraction or Credit, you must have a “qualifying child.” To qualify, both of the following must be true:

  • Your child attended kindergarten through 12th grade during the year.
  • Your child meets the federal definition of “qualifying child” used for the Earned Income Credit.

Qualifying Child of More Than One Taxpayer

If another person can claim your child as a “qualifying child,” only one of you may claim education expenses paid for that child.

The two of you must decide who will claim the K-12 subtraction or credit. Whoever does so may only claim the expenses they actually paid – you can’t claim expenses paid by the other person, and they can’t claim expenses paid by you.

If the two of you can’t decide who claims your qualifying child for the K-12 credit and subtraction, the federal “tie-breaker” rule applies.

For more information, see "Qualifying Child Rules" on the IRS website.

Students Buying Their Own Supplies

Students who buy their own supplies can’t claim the expenses. Only taxpayers who buy supplies for their qualifying children may claim those expenses for the K-12 subtraction or credit.

For more information, see K-12 Education Subtraction and Credit (Income Tax Fact Sheet 8) .