Employees of a small business may need to develop their expertise or skills in a particular area to better perform their duties. While training courses like seminars and one-day intensives can be a worthwhile investment, there are still a few things employers should consider from a tax point of view.
Employers can generally claim deductions for the full costs incurred when providing education to employees, including aspects like course fees and travel costs. Many owners tend to forget possible FBT implications.
Paying for employee work-related course fees commonly constitutes as a fringe benefit and is subject to FBT. However, FBT law allows a full or partial reduction of FBT payable provided that the ‘otherwise deductible’ rule is met. The ‘otherwise deductible rule’ implies that if the employee had paid the expense themselves, they could claim a deduction for the expense. The business could then provide the benefit to the employee without having to pay FBT on the amounts.
An education expense is considered to be hypothetically deductible to the employee depending on the type of course or education studied. The course must have a satisfactory connection to an employee’s current employment, maintain or improve the skills or knowledge required for the employee’s current role, or result in an increase in the employee’s income.
Employees cannot claim a deduction for education expenses if there is no connection to their current employment, even if it assists them to gain new employment.