- The CARES Act made payments on an employee's student loan principal and interest by an employer under an educational assistance program excludable from the employee's income. Qualified amounts would be excluded from the Box 1 wages on the employee's W-2.
Exclusion from wages. You can exclude up to $5,250 of educational assistance you provide to an employee under an educational assistance program from the employee's wages each year.
Assistance over $5,250. If you don't have an educational assistance plan, or you provide an employee with assistance exceeding $5,250, you must include the value of these benefits as wages, unless the benefits are working condition benefits. Working condition benefits may be excluded from wages. Property or a service provided is a working condition benefit to the extent that if the employee paid for it, the amount paid would have been allowable as a business or depreciation expense.
Student loan interest that you pay for your loans (not your employee's loans) may be deductible on your Form 1040 by entering a 1098-E. The principal portion is not deductible.
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