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How do I claim study fees from my employer without being taxed heavily?

Posted 23 February 2014 under Tax Questions

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I have a query regarding the payment of exams.
I recently registered and paid via my credit for an expert certification exam costing R20000.
My company agreed to pay half of the amount on condition that I sign a document stating that I will be liable for the amount should I fail or leave the company.
Unfortunately due to the scarce availability of seats to write the exam I had to use my personal credit card to book a seat as one became available or risk not being able to sit for the exam.
My issue now is how do I go about claiming the half back from the company.
If they pay it with my normal salary I will be taxed heavily and would effectively lose out on around 40%.
Is it a viable option to suggest a study bursary? The exam only takes place in May.

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TaxTimTaxTim says:
24 February 2014 at 12:50

If this expense is part of the ordinary course of their business, ie to pay for the further training etc of employees then they are allowed to claim such expenses as a tax deduction.

In your case if it is just for you then the employer will be allowed to register you under the Learnership Allowance provisions which will mean they can pay for these expenses and you won't be taxed on this. They can pay you back into your account without their being any tax consequences.

Momo says:
26 February 2014 at 16:49

Thanks so much for your reply.

My company responded today saying that I will need to claim it as a sundry expense and will be taxed on it :(.

I am going to query them again but unfortunately I do not think they will budge.

TaxTimTaxTim says:
26 February 2014 at 22:46

Sometimes they do not want to go through the process of registering you for a learnership allowance which means they will have to unfortunately tax you on this amount as a fringe benefit.

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