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College Application Fees and Entrance Exams: Are they Tax Deductible?

written by: Erik Hinrichsen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 7/29/2010

This article answers questions about tax deductions for college application fees and entrance exam fees.

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    Applying to college can be an expensive endeavor. Each college has its own application fee, which usually ranges from forty to sixty dollars. On top of this, there's the fee for the SAT - 47 dollars - and the SAT II, another 25 dollars for each test. Students applying to five schools might spend over five hundred dollars in application fees and entrance exams. All this expense gives rise to the question, 'Are college application fees tax deductible?'

    The answer to this question is, unfortunately, no. These fees actually were tax deductible for a time, but this deduction was removed following the 2009 tax season.

    Another similar question - 'Are college entrance exams tax deductible?' This question has the same answer: nope.

    Fees associated with applying to college are not tax deductible. This means that all exams, such as SAT and ACT, and application fees cannot be deducted from tax expenses. Do not try to claim these items, because they are no longer allowed.

    There is some good news, though. Even though college entrance exams and applications fees are not tax deductible, tuition and other mandatory fees are tax deductible.

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    Conclusion

    To sum up the situation with regard to tax deductions and application fees or examination fees, these expenses are not tax deductible. Students in past years may have been able to claim expenses associated with college, such as application fees, as deductions. This has contributed to confusion about what is and what is not tax deductible. Avoid confusion by realizing that these deductions are expired and can no longer be claimed. Application fees to colleges are not tax deductible, neither are the SAT, ACT, or other entrance examination fees.

    These fees can add up to a considerable expense, so concern over their cost is quite common. Though these costs are not tax deductible, other expenses are. In general, mandatory costs associated with attending college may be claimed as deductions. There are several programs which are designed to lower the cost of higher education by providing tax breaks. These tax breaks usually apply to tuition and mandatory fees, but unfortunately are not available to all applicants. These deductions may have income limits, which prevent higher-earning families from qualifying for them. To learn more about these programs, read Bright Hub's article about tax incentives for higher education or consult the resources listed in the reference section, below. These provide a clear overview of the tax deductions available to college students and their families.

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    References

    Tax Tips and Calculators: http://www.hrblock.com/taxes/tax_tips/tax_planning/college_planning.html?ttiptitle=Income%20Taxes%20and%20College

    Tuition and Fees Deduction - Note that this article describes the expired deductions and is not current: http://taxes.about.com/od/deductionscredits/qt/tuitionfeesded.htm

    The College Tax Breaks Explained: http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/college-planning/the-college-tax-breaks-explained-9644/