Can Employees Write off Tuition Reimbursement Paid by Employers?

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If your employer provides tuition reimbursement as part of an educational assistance program, you can write off those benefits. However, there is a cap on how much you can write off.

What You Can Write Off

If you participated in an employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement program, you can write off the benefits you received up to $5,250, as of 2013. This means that the IRS does not treat the funds as income and they are not included on your W-2 as wages, tips and other compensation. Thus, you don't include them on your income tax return. However, if you receive more than $5,250, you must pay taxes on the excess amount, which means your employer will include it on your W-2 and you must claim the income on your taxes. The only exception to this requirement is if the excess amount qualifies as a working condition fringe benefit. The IRS defines this as a benefit you could deduct as an employee business expense had you paid for it out of your own pocket. In this instance, you don't have to claim the additional income or pay taxes on it.


About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.

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