Recovery Act Tax Benefits Include Work-related Education Deduction

September 11, 2009 ( - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has established an information center describing the various tax credits, deductions, and savings plans available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to assist with higher education expenses.

The tax benefits include a business deduction for work-related education expenses. Individuals who are employees and can itemize deductions, may be able to claim a deduction for the expenses paid for work-related education.

The IRS information says that to claim a business deduction for work-related education, an individual must:

  • Be working;
  • Itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or 1040NR) if an employee;
  • File Schedule C (Form 1040), Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), or Schedule F (Form 1040) if self-employed; and
  • Have expenses for education that meet the requirements of Qualifying Work-Related Education.

The IRS furthers explains that Qualifying Work-Related Education is education that meets at least one of the following two tests:

  • The education is required by the individual’s employer or the law to keep the employee’s present salary, status or job, and the required education must serve a bona fide business purpose of the employer.
  • The education maintains or improves skills needed in the employee’s present work.

However, even if the education meets one or both of the above tests, it is not Qualifying Work-Related Education if it is needed to meet the minimum educational requirements of the employee’s present trade or business or it is part of a program of study that will qualify the employee for a new trade or business.

When an employee gets more education than the employer or the law requires, the additional education can be Qualifying Work-Related Education only if it maintains or improves skills required in present work. The education could include refresher courses, courses on current developments, and academic or vocational courses.

The IRS’ information center for tax benefits on education includes links to related sources, and audio file for Podcast, and links to a YouTube video.

The information center is here .