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Employer-Provided Educational Assistance

An employer-provided education or tuition assistance program can be a valuable fringe benefit. You can exclude up to $5,250 of employer-provided education assistance from your income.

Educational assistance is payment by an employer of education expenses incurred by an employee. It includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Tuition
  • Fees and similar payments
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Equipment

An educational assistance plan can also include employer-provided instructional courses and expenses, like:

  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Equipment

Educational assistance doesn't include providing or paying for these items:

  • Tools or supplies -- other than textbooks -- that the employee can keep after completing a course
  • Meals or lodging
  • Transportation
  • Courses or other education involving sports, games, or hobbies -- unless the course either:
    • Relates to the employer's business
    • Is required as part of a degree program

Your total education benefits might be more than $5,250. If so, the exclusion applies to the first $5,250 in benefits you receive during the year.

If you received education benefits not covered by this provision, you might be able to exclude them as job-related educational expenses. To qualify, the course must:

  • Benefit the employer
  • Apply to your job
  • Be an undergraduate, graduate, or continuing professional education course

To learn more, see Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education at www.irs.gov.

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