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laaaaz
New Member

I spent 13K in training courses relating to my current profession as a Merchant Mariner in early 2020 but I don't have a W-2 as my income was foreign. Is this deductible?

The money for courses was paid out of pocket in the US but the job I got in August counts as foreign earned income and thus there's no W-2. From what I've read from other sources, this income should be tax deductible but TurboTax will not let me enter it under the Deductions & Credits>Employment Expenses section. I'm guessing it's because I haven't submitted a W-2. Is have a W-2 a requirement for qualifying for these job-related expenses as a deduction?
4 Replies

I spent 13K in training courses relating to my current profession as a Merchant Mariner in early 2020 but I don't have a W-2 as my income was foreign. Is this deductible?

These are non deductible personal expenses since they were required for you to meet the minimum job requirements. 

laaaaz
New Member

I spent 13K in training courses relating to my current profession as a Merchant Mariner in early 2020 but I don't have a W-2 as my income was foreign. Is this deductible?

They were not required for me to meet minimum job requirements. I am already working in the field and the subsequent job that I got in Aug 2020 did not require the courses or certification. 

 

From the IRS's website on the topic:

"To be deductible, your expenses must be for education that (1) maintains or improves skills needed in your present work or (2) a 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.

Although the education must relate to maintain or improve skills needed in your present work, education expenses incurred during temporary absence from your work may also be deductible. 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."

 

I was sole engineer on a vessel that I left in Nov 2019 in order to complete this training. I then started as sole engineer on a different vessel in Aug 2020. Since my absence was less than a year and I returned to the same type of work with the same job title, it would appear that I meet the time and type of work requirements.

 

What's strange is that TurboTax won't let me even enter the training expenses. It says that "Self-Employed (Schedule C) or 1099-MISC work expenses" are not included on the TurboTax page but the IRS website I linked above does say that self-employed people can apply this deduction.

I spent 13K in training courses relating to my current profession as a Merchant Mariner in early 2020 but I don't have a W-2 as my income was foreign. Is this deductible?

If you are a 1099 contractor reporting the income on a Sch C then you have to upgrade your program to the Self Employed version. 

Carl
Level 15

I spent 13K in training courses relating to my current profession as a Merchant Mariner in early 2020 but I don't have a W-2 as my income was foreign. Is this deductible?

I suspect you may be reading an outdated document on the IRS website. I take note that you did not reference the specific document or the website. See Topic 513 at https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513

If you don't fall into one of the listed four categories, then your W-2 job related expenses are just flat out not deductible unfortunately.

 

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