“ Do I deduct this amount from their tuition expenses and claim it next year?”----> Tuition and fees paid in 2011 can be deducted in 2011 or you can claim education credit. You are a cash basis taxpayer, which means the year the payment is made is the year you MUST claim the payment as income as the recipient or deduct the payment as payer. So, university reported the first semester of 2012's school year on the 2011 1098-T and checked Box 7 ("Check if box 2 includes amounts for academic period beginning Jan. - Mar. 2012). university reported the first semester of 2012's school year on the 2011 1098-T and checked Box 7 ("Check if box 2 includes amounts for academic period beginning Jan. - Mar. 2012). That is the rule of reporting. School stated that the second school semester tuition for school year 2011 was paid in 2011. This is usually the case. However, if you have proof that you paid tuition fees in 2012, go for it. Keep your records.
“ Also, I know we can deduct the book expenses, but can I deduct the laptop that our son needed for college as well?”---->I do NOT think so; sorry, but that's not deductible as an educational expense. The only exception is if the laptop is required by the school as part of the curriculum and your son is requried to purchase the laptop from the school's bookstore. Most states have laws banning that practice so it's not likely that this would apply to you.