ERIC Number: EJ1084381
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: 11
Deductibility of Expenses for Studying Abroad
Slater, Robert; Hart, Dana L.
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v26 p136-143 Fall 2015
In this paper the authors examine the tax treatment of study abroad expenses for students who engage in study abroad activities. Study abroad activity has increased dramatically at U.S. universities. The Institute of International Education (IIE) reports that 289,408 U.S. students studied abroad in 2013 up 2.1% from 2012 (IIE 2014). Over the past decade, the number of U.S. students studying abroad has increased by over 160%, despite consistently increasing costs. The Institute of International Education's 2013 study (as cited by Stansbury, 2013) reports that the average cost of studying abroad for one semester is currently $17,785 for the 2012-2013 academic year. The cost of an international study abroad educational experience may include expenses such as airfare, short-term housing, day-trips, and cultural activities in the host country. But not all study abroad trips are created equally. Study abroad trips run the gamut from seven day excursions to full semester trips to multiple year, multiple country trips. While both students and faculty participate in study abroad opportunities, the tax consequences of study abroad expenses are dependent upon the type of trip chosen, the duration of the visit, and the role of the participants involved. Students participating in a study abroad trip have multiple options when it comes to deducting their study abroad expenses. Students need to consider whether their study abroad educational expenses are personal educational expenses or work related educational expenses. Qualified personal educational expenses may be deducted through tax credits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit, while qualified work related educational expenses are generally deducted either on Schedule A as an itemized deduction or on Schedule C. Qualifying educational expenses, whether work related or personal, may also be used to reduce taxable income by utilizing the tuition and fees deduction or the student loan interest deduction. Students need to understand each of these alternative tax treatments and the expenses which are considered qualified for each one. The internal revenue service does not allow double counting of educational expenses. Taxpayers are responsible for determining which option is most beneficial to them. It is important for students to understand the nuances of the US tax code when considering costs incurred while studying abroad. This paper discusses and provides examples of the alternative tax treatments of study abroad expenses for students.
Descriptors: Study Abroad, Taxes, Tax Rates, Costs, Expenditures, Tax Credits, Student Employment, Self Employment
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site: http://www.frontiersjournal.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A