Is Private School Tuition Tax Deductible?

Paper currency in a pile

Tuition for Children With Special Needs Can Be a Deduction

Parents who choose private school education for their children may wonder (especially around tax time!) if the costs can be deducted on federal or state taxes.  While some states (most recently, Louisiana) do offer some school tuition tax relief for families enrolled in private schools, the federal government does not make private school tuition tax deductible for all children, but there may be options for those with special needs diagnoses.

IRS Deductions and Private Education

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a student with special needs who has been diagnosed by a qualified medical or behavioral specialist, whose diagnosis and condition requires an education that cannot be provided by the public school and that is not funded by the school district may qualify for a tuition deduction as a medical expense.

Publication 502 spells out the rules for IRS deductions and private education.

Special Needs and Tax Write Off for

For the IRS to consider private school tuition tax deductible, a set of criteria must be met.  The parents must be able to prove that the child’s medical or behavioral condition requires private schooling, that they tried to receive school district assistance, and that the write off for these special needs is necessary.

In some cases, legal issues with school districts may require parents to pay out of pocket.  If parents take the tax deduction but are later reimbursed by the district, the result could be a requirement to repay the tax refunded. Parents always need to consult with a tax adviser before declaring private school tuition as a tax deduction.

What do you think?