What's a computer?
October 29, 2016 8:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm using an old 401k rollover to pay for graduate school. Tuition is a higher education expense, so it qualifies for penalty-free withdrawals, and the PATH Act confirmed that "purchase of computer or peripheral equipment" is also a qualified expense (as is software). Do things like adapters and dongles fall under the aforementioned "computer and peripheral equipment", or would I have to separate those out?

I'm using an old 401k rollover to pay for graduate school. Tuition is a higher education expense, so it qualifies for penalty-free withdrawals, and the PATH Act confirmed that "purchase of computer or peripheral equipment" is also a qualified expense (as is software).

Do things like adapters and dongles fall under the aforementioned "computer and peripheral equipment", or would I have to separate those out?

(You are not my lawyer and you are not my tax adviser, but you can probably guess from this question what kind of computer I'm looking at.)
posted by chimpsonfilm to Law & Government (1 answer total)
 
From Pub 534:

Computers and Related Peripheral Equipment

A computer is a programmable electronically activated device that:

Is capable of accepting information, applying prescribed processes to the information, and supplying the results of those processes with or without human intervention, and

Consists of a central processing unit with extensive storage, logic, arithmetic, and control capabilities.

Related peripheral equipment is any auxiliary machine which is designed to be controlled by the central processing unit of a computer.

Computer or peripheral equipment does not include:

Any equipment which is an integral part of property which is not a computer,

Typewriters, calculators, adding and accounting machines, copiers, duplicating equipment, and similar equipment, and

Equipment of a kind, used primarily for the user's amusement or entertainment, such as video games.


I assume we're talking specifically about fruit-flavored computer equipment with the fancy new ports. In that particular case, those adapters and cables actually have active electronics in them, and so there's no reasonable reading of the peripheral equipment requirement that would exclude them. (IANAL.)
posted by doomsey at 9:14 PM on October 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


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