New York Tax Form IT-272 - Claim for College Tuition Credit or Itemized Deduction Instructions

Caution: Do not complete Form IT-272 if you are claimed as a dependent on another's New York State tax return or if you file Form IT-203, New York State Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return. You do not qualify for the college tuition credit.

General information

What is the college tuition credit or itemized deduction?

The college tuition credit is a tax credit allowed for the qualified college tuition expenses paid for an eligible student. The credit is available to full-year New York State residents only. If the credit exceeds your tax for the tax year, the excess credit will be refunded, without interest. For tax year 2009, the credit is limited to $400 per eligible student.

The college tuition itemized deduction may offer you a greater tax savings if you itemized your deductions on your federal return. For tax year 2009, the maximum deduction is $10,000 for each eligible student. Use the worksheets in these instructions to compute your college tuition itemized deduction and to determine which option (credit or deduction) is better for you.

You can claim the New York credit or deduction even if you claim a federal credit or deduction for qualified college tuition expenses. There is no limit on the number of eligible students for whom you may claim a credit or deduction. You may claim either the credit or the deduction, but not both.

Do I qualify for the college tuition credit or itemized deduction?

To qualify for the college tuition credit or itemized deduction, you, your spouse, or your dependent(s) must be an undergraduate student enrolled at or attending an institution of higher education and have paid qualified college tuition expenses in 2009. Only expenses for undergraduate enrollment or attendance qualify.

If you are a New York State nonresident or part-year resident, you do not qualify for the college tuition credit. However, you may be eligible to claim the New York college tuition itemized deduction if you itemized your deductions on your federal return. Do not complete Form IT-272. See the instructions for Form IT-203-B, Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Allocation and College Tuition Itemized Deduction Worksheet.

If a student is claimed as a dependent on another person’s New York State tax return, only the person who claims the student as a dependent may claim the credit or itemized deduction. If a student is not claimed as a dependent on another person’s New York State tax return, the student may claim the credit or deduction.

Spouses filing separately — If you and your spouse are filing separate returns, you must each file a separate Form IT-272 to claim your credit or deduction. One spouse may claim the credit, and the other spouse may claim the itemized deduction. However, you must each claim your separately computed credit (or deduction) based only on the amount of qualified college tuition expenses you paid (or that were treated as if paid by you) for yourself, your spouse, or a person who you claim as a dependent on your separate return. You cannot claim expenses for a dependent claimed by your spouse.

For more information on the college tuition credit or itemized deduction, see Publication 10-W, FAQs: New York State College Tuition Credit and Itemized Deduction.

How do I claim the college tuition credit or itemized deduction?

If you paid qualified college tuition expenses in tax year 2009, complete all sections of Form IT-272 that apply to you. For the credit, transfer the amount from line 5 or line 7 to the appropriate line on Form IT-150 or Form IT-201. For the itemized deduction, see Part 4 on Form IT-272. Attach your completed Form IT-272 to your return.

Specific instructions

See the instructions for your tax return for the Privacy notification or if you need help contacting the Tax Department.

All filers complete lines 1 and 2.

Part 1

 Column A — Eligible student includes the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, and the taxpayer’s dependent(s) (for whom an exemption for New York State income tax purposes is allowed). List each eligible student only once in Part 1.

If you are claiming more than three eligible students, complete Part 1 as instructed, and attach a statement in the same format with the required identifying information for the additional eligible students. Write your name and social security number on the attachment.

Column C — Enter the name(s) of the college or university (institution of higher education) to which qualified college tuition expenses were paid.

An institution of higher education includes any institution of higher education or business, trade, technical, or other occupational school located in or outside of New York State.

The institution must be recognized and approved by either the regents of the University of New York or a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association accepted by the regents. In addition, the institution or school must provide a course of study leading to the granting of a post-secondary degree, certificate, or diploma.

Column D — Qualified college tuition expenses include tuition required for the enrollment or attendance of the eligible student at an institution of higher education. The expenses may be paid by cash, check, credit card, or with borrowed funds. The eligible student does not need to be enrolled in a degree program or to attend full time for the expenses to qualify. However, only expenses for undergraduate enrollment or attendance qualify. Expenses for enrollment or attendance in a course of study leading to the granting of a postbaccalaureate or other graduate degree do not qualify.

Payments on behalf of an eligible student from a qualified state tuition program (such as New York’s 529 College Savings Program) are considered qualified college tuition expenses for purposes of Form IT-272. If you claim the student as a dependent, these payments are treated as paid by you.

Generally, qualified college tuition expenses paid on behalf of an eligible student by someone other than the student (such as a relative) are treated as paid by the student. However, if the eligible student is claimed as a dependent on another person’s New York State income tax return, only the person who claims the student as a dependent for income tax purposes may claim the credit or deduction for college tuition expenses that were paid (or treated as paid) by the student. This is the case even if the expenses were paid from the student’s earnings, gifts, inheritances, or savings.

The following are not qualified college tuition expenses:

  • Tuition paid through the receipt of scholarships or financial aid (For this purpose, financial aid does not include student loans, other loans, and grants that must be repaid either before or after the student ceases attending school.)
  • Amounts paid for room and board, insurance, medical expenses (including student health fees), transportation, or other similar personal, living, or family expenses
  • Fees for course-related books, supplies, equipment, and nonacademic activities, even if the fees are required to be paid as a condition of enrollment or attendance

If you paid qualified tuition expenses in 2009 for an academic period that begins in 2010 or after, those expenses are considered eligible expenses for the 2009 college tuition credit or deduction.

Reduce the total of your qualified college tuition expenses by any scholarships or financial aid received or by any refunds of qualified expenses. If you have not received a refund, scholarship, or other form of financial aid before you file your tax return, reduce your qualified expenses by the amount that will be received if you can determine this amount. If the refund, scholarship, or financial aid is received after you have filed your return, you must file Form IT-150-X, Amended Resident Income Tax Return (short form), or Form IT-201-X, Amended Resident Income Tax Return (long form), and Form IT-272 (marked Amended ). Compute the amount by which your credit or deduction would have been reduced if the refund, scholarship, or financial aid had been received in the year for which you claimed the credit or deduction.

If you paid qualified college tuition expenses to more than one institution of higher learning for the same eligible student, enter the total qualified expenses paid to all institutions during 2009 for that student on one line.

Column E — Enter for each student listed in column A the lesser of $10,000 or the amount of qualified college tuition expenses shown in column D.

Part 4 — College tuition itemized deduction election

If you itemized deductions on your federal return, you may receive a greater tax benefit from the college tuition itemized deduction. To compute your college tuition itemized deduction, complete Worksheet 1 below.

Note: If the amount on Form IT-201, line 33, is more than $1,000,000, do not complete Part 4. You should claim the college tuition credit since your college tuition itemized deduction is reduced to zero.

Use the following steps to determine if the college tuition itemized deduction or the college tuition credit offers the greater tax savings:

  • First complete any of the following that apply to you:
    • Form IT-213, Claim for Empire State Child Credit
    • Form IT-214, Claim for Real Property Tax Credit
    • Form IT-215, Claim for Earned Income Credit, or Form IT-209, Claim for Noncustodial Parent New York State Earned Income Credit
    • Form IT-216, Claim for Child and Dependent Care Credit
  • Then, complete Worksheet 2 on page 3.

However, do not use Worksheet 2 if you must file any of the following forms:

  • Form IT-201-ATT, Other Tax Credits and Taxes
  • Form IT-360.1, Change of City Resident Status
  • Form IT-112-R, New York State Resident Credit
  • Form IT-112-C, New York State Resident Credit for Taxes Paid to a Province of Canada

Instead, you should first compute your tax liability claiming the college tuition credit on a separate sheet of paper. Then, compute your tax liability claiming the college tuition itemized deduction. Claim the option that results in the greater tax savings.

You may claim either the credit or the deduction, but not both.

Important: You must attach Form IT-272 to your 2009 Form IT-150 to claim the college tuition credit or Form IT-201 to claim the college tuition credit or the college tuition itemized deduction.