Educational Expenses

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You may be able to deduct work-related educational expenses paid during the year as an itemized deduction on Schedule A of Form 1040 (PDF). To be deductible, your expenses must be for education that:
  1. Maintains or improves skills required in your present job; or
  2. Serves a business purpose of your employer and is required by your employer, or by law or regulations, to keep your present salary, status, or job.

Your expenses are not deductible if the education is required to meet the minimum educational requirements of your job, or is part of a program of study that can lead to qualifying you in a new trade or business.

Although the education must relate to your present work, educational expenses incurred during temporary absence from your job may be deductible. However, after your temporary absence, you must return to the same kind of work. Usually, absence from work for one year or less is considered temporary.

Educational expenses include amounts spent for tuition, books, supplies, laboratory fees, and similar items. They also include the cost of research and typing when writing a paper as part of an educational program. Transportation and travel expenses to attend qualified educational activities may also be deductible. If you take a deduction for these educational expenses on your tax return, you cannot take other educational credits for these same expenses.

If you are an employee, you generally must complete Form 2106 (PDF) or Form 2106-EZ (PDF). Educational expenses are deducted as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040; they are subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income limit. For new information on the 2% limit, refer to Miscellaneous Expenses.

Self-employed individuals include educational expenses on Schedule C Form 1040 (PDF), Schedule C-EZ, Form 1040 (PDF) or Schedule F of Form 1040 (PDF).

You can also exclude from income up to $5,250 of employer-provided educational benefits received under a qualified educational assistance program. The payments do not have to be for work-related courses, but generally cannot be for courses involving sports, games, or hobbies. Courses that began after December 31, 2003 can be courses leading to an advanced academic or professional degree.

Your employer may report the educational assistance payments on your W-2 in Box 14 under "other". Taxable reimbursements will be reported by your employer as income to you in Box 1 of Form Form W-2.

For more information on educational expenses or Education Tax Credits, refer to Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education. Information about other educational incentives can also be found in Publication 970.


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