Amounts received by an employee under a written ed...
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Education

Amounts received by an employee under a written educational assistance plan are excluded from taxable income, up to $5,250 per year. It would appear that your employer has the intention to treat the payment you just received as a 2016 benefit and the payment in May as your 2017 benefit, both within the maximum for the respective year. 

The amount received should not be included in Box 1 of Form W-2. Since the benefit is not taxed, you have no reporting obligation on your tax return.

For more information, please see IRS Pub. 970 Tax Benefits for Education.

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