Topic no. 513, Work-related education expenses

You may be able to deduct the cost of work-related education expenses paid during the year if you're:

  • A self-employed individual
  • An Armed Forces reservist
  • A qualified performing artist
  • A fee-based state or local government official
  • A disabled individual with impairment-related education expenses

To be deductible, your expenses must be for education that (1) maintains or improves skills needed in your present work or (2) your employer or the law requires to keep your present salary, status or job. However, even if the education meets either of these tests, the education can't be part of a program that will qualify you for a new trade or business or that you need to meet the minimal educational requirements of your present trade or business.

Education expenses incurred during temporary absence from your work may also be deductible, but the education must be to maintain or improve skills needed in your present work. After your temporary absence, you must return to the same general type of work. Usually, absence from work for one year or less is considered temporary.

Expenses that you can deduct include:

  • Tuition, books, supplies, lab fees, and similar items
  • Certain transportation and travel costs
  • Other educational expenses, such as the cost of research and typing

To determine if your work-related expenses are deductible, see Are my work-related education expenses deductible?

Reporting the education expense

Self-employed individuals include education expenses on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship) or Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming.

Armed Forces reservists, qualified performing artists and state or local government officials figure the cost of qualifying work-related education expenses on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), Additional Income and Adjustments to Income PDF and attach Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses to their return.

Disabled individuals figure the expenses on Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions and attach Form 2106 to their return.

Additional information

For more information on work-related education expenses, education tax credits, or information for specific types of employees, such as performing artists, refer to Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education and Publication 463, Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses.

For additional information about education benefits, review Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center and Am I eligible to claim an education credit?