This exclusion applies to educational assistance you provide to
employees under an educational assistance program.
Educational assistance means amounts you pay or incur for your
employees' education expenses. These expenses generally include the
cost of books, equipment, fees, supplies, and tuition. However, these
expenses do not include the cost of graduate-level courses of a kind
normally taken by a person pursuing a program leading to an advanced
academic or professional degree. Also, these expenses do not include
the cost of a course or other education involving sports, games, or
hobbies, unless the education:
- Has a reasonable relationship to your business, or
- Is required as part of a degree program.
Education expenses do not include the cost of tools or supplies
(other than textbooks) that your employee is allowed to keep at the
end of the course. Nor do they include the cost of lodging, meals, or
Educational assistance program.
An educational assistance program is a separate written plan that
provides educational assistance only to your employees. The program
qualifies only if all of the following tests are met.
- The program benefits employees who qualify under rules set
up by you that do not favor highly compensated employees. To determine
whether your program meets this test, do not consider employees
excluded from your program who are covered by a collective bargaining
agreement if there is evidence that educational assistance was a
subject of good-faith bargaining.
- The program does not provide more than 5% of its benefits
during the year for shareholders or owners. A shareholder or owner is
someone who owns (on any day of the year) more than 5% of the stock or
of the capital or profits interest of your business.
- The program does not allow employees to choose to receive
cash or other benefits that must be included in gross income instead
of educational assistance.
- You give reasonable notice of the program to eligible
Your program can cover former employees if their employment is
the reason for the coverage.
For this exclusion, a highly compensated employee for 2001 is an
employee who meets either of the following tests.
- The employee was a 5% owner at any time during the year or
the preceding year.
- The employee received more than $85,000 in pay for the
You can choose to ignore test (2) if the employee was not also
in the top 20% of employees when ranked by pay for the preceding year.
For this exclusion, treat the following individuals as employees.
- A current employee.
- A former employee who retired, left on disability, or was
- A leased employee who has provided services to you on a
substantially full-time basis for at least a year if the services are
performed under your primary direction or control.
- Yourself (if you are a sole proprietor).
- A partner who performs services for a partnership.
Exclusion from wages.
You can exclude up to $5,250 of educational assistance you provide
to an employee under an educational assistance program from the
employee's wages each year.
Assistance over $5,250.
If you provide an employee with more than $5,250 of educational
assistance during the year, you may be able to exclude part or all of
the excess as a working condition benefit. See Working Condition
Expiration date. This exclusion will not apply to
expenses paid for courses beginning after December 31, 2001.
If you maintain an educational assistance program, you must report
information about the program each year by the last day of the 7th
month after the program year ends. Use Form 5500 and Schedule F (Form
5500). See the form instructions for information on extensions of time