IRS Reporting & Compliance
Carnegie Mellon University is providing the information on this website for general guidance only. The information on this site does not constitute legal advice, tax advice, accounting advice, or professional advice of any kind. There is no substitute for consultation with professional advisors based on the facts of each individual situation. CMU disclaims any liability whatsoever in connection with the accuracy or completeness of the material on this website, or reliance on the general guidance provided.
Educational Tax Credits
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (TRA 97) provided tax benefits for individuals paying higher education costs for themselves or family members. Educational tax credits can help offset the costs of education by reducing the amount of tax owed on your tax return. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit are education credits you can subtract in full from your federal income tax, not just deduct from taxable income.
There are additional rules for each credit; however, you must meet all three of the following to be eligible for either credit:
- You, your dependent or a third party pays qualified education expenses for higher education.
- An eligible student must be enrolled at an eligible educational institution.
- The eligible student is yourself, your spouse or a dependent you list on your tax return.
You cannot claim the AOTC if you were a non-resident alien for any part of the tax year unless you elect to be treated as a resident alien for federal tax purposes. For more information about AOTC and foreign students, visit American Opportunity Tax Credit - Information for Foreign Students.
For additional information about educational tax credits, visit:
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Website
- Tax Information for Students
- Tax Benefits for Education
- Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education
Form 1098-T is an informational only tax document that is issued to students for the purpose of determining eligibility for education tax credits. The information on the form is also filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The university provides the form to each student who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with qualified tuition expenses during the reporting year. The form is delivered through traditional mail unless one of the following exceptions applies:
- Student consented for electronic delivery before January 1 (view more about the paperless option below);
- Student’s financial aid is more than or equal to their tuition;
- Student is a non-resident alien, unless specifically requested; or
- Student was enrolled in non-credit courses or pre-college programs.
- Hard copy forms will be mailed to student's permanent address during the last week of January.
- Online forms are generally available on or before January 15.
- If a student consented for electronic delivery prior to January 1, then the student will receive an email notification when the form is available on Student Information Online (SIO).
- The tuition amount billed is reported in Box 2; we do not report amounts paid in Box 1.
Social Security Number & Individual Tax Payer Identification Number
- For the student's protection, only the last four digits of the Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN) will be displayed on the form, but the full number is reported to the IRS.
- Reporting to the IRS depends primarily on the student's SSN or ITIN; therefore, it is very important that we have the student's correct number on file.
- If we do not have the student's number on file, we are required by law to request it in writing. Note: We will never ask students to supply SSNs or ETINs by email.
- If a student received notification from us to submit an SSN or ITIN, the student should log into Student Information Online (SIO) and select ‘Enter your SSN’ under the ‘My Info’ tab. Once there, enter the SSN or ITIN and click ‘Submit’. If a former student no longer has access to SIO, he or she will need to complete the IRS Form
- For information about the form and instructions, visit IRS W-9 instructions.
- The student should complete Part I of the form and fax it to 412-268-6651 or mail it to:
Carnegie Mellon University
Student Accounts Office
Warner Hall A19
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
- The information provided in the form will not be used for any purpose other than to provide the student and the IRS with correct tax filing information.
- Failure to provide an SSN/ITIN may result in a fine by the IRS in accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 6723.
Enrolling in the paperless option will give students access to the current year Form 1098-T weeks earlier than traditional mailing and students will have online access to all prior year forms on Student Information Online (SIO).
To enroll in the paperless option, log into SIO, hover over the 'Finances' tab, select 'IRS Tuition Statement (1098-T)' and then click the 'Edit' button on the right side of the page. Finish by agreeing to the disclosures. Please note the following:
- The current form will be available online approximately January 15.
- Students will be notified by email as soon as the form is available.
- The paperless option reduces the cost and impact of paper forms.