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Hi Bill:

Your idea of using the LLC is a good one. In that case, I would recommend that the gift be given to you and your wife, and not directly to the school, especially since the gift amount will be less than $10k. You can then claim the LLC for the expenses you payed towards higher education (within the requirements, of course).

Although your suggestion causes no harm. If the third party (i.e. grandparent) makes a payment directly to the school for a student's qualified expenses, the student is treated as receiving the payment from the third party and, in turn, paying the qualified expenses. If the student is not claimed as a dependent on another person's return, the student claims the education credit, if eligible.

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