TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Tax Deductions and Credits / Can I Deduct My Computer for School on Taxes?

Can I Deduct My Computer for School on Taxes?

Updated for Tax Year 2015


OVERVIEW

You may be able to get back the cost of that computer you’re using for school on your income taxes.


If you find yourself dreading tax season after a year of pounding out college reports on your computer, take heart -- you may be able to get back the cost of that computer on your income taxes.
 
The IRS publishes specific requirements for educational expenses and a computer often qualifies. If it doesn't qualify under the credit, you still may be able to list it as an itemized deduction on your taxes.

Let's see how that's done.

Education tax credits

The government uses tax policy to encourage activities seen as being socially constructive, such as paying for education and saving for retirement. While the names and amounts vary, the IRS generally provides for some type of educational tax credit usable as an offset for qualifying tuition and related expenses.

A computer for school purposes may or may not qualify for these credits. Generally, if your computer is a necessary requirement for enrollment or attendance at an educational institution, the IRS deems it a qualifying expense. If you are using the computer simply out of convenience, it most likely does not qualify for a tax credit.

Itemized deductions

Itemized deductions are different from tax credits. While a tax credit will reduce your taxes on a dollar-for-dollar basis, a deduction reduces your taxable income instead. That means tax credits will lower your overall tax bill by a larger amount, but itemized deductions can still help.

If your computer does not qualify for any government educational tax credits, you may be able to use the expense as an itemized deduction instead.

Educator expenses

If you are an educator using your computer for school purposes, take an itemized deduction for this expense. The IRS allows you to deduct a certain amount of unreimbursed educational expenses that can include computer equipment and software.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Filing Deadline: IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 18, 2016 (except for residents of Massachusetts or Maine, where the IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 19, 2016).
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except the TurboTax Home & Business/QuickBooks Self-Employed bundle offers.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available via phone for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2014 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.