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Course Fees Relief

Course Fees Relief is given to encourage individuals to continuously upgrade their skills and enhance their employability. CFR is targeted at those who are currently employed or who have been employed previously. For the purpose of this relief vocation jobs or internships are not considered as employment.

Courses that Qualify for Relief

You can claim relief for the Year of Assessment (YA) 2016 on the course fees paid in 2015 for:

  • Any course, seminar or conference you attended in 2015 leading to an approved academic, professional or vocation qualification. To qualify for relief, the course, seminar or conference should lead to a recognised academic and professional qualification. To qualify for relief:
  1. The acquired skills or knowledge can be applied in a vocation or a specific area in an industry
  2. The course, seminar or conference provider is a Singapore registered entity with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
  • Any course, seminar or conference you attended in 2015 that is relevant to your current employment, trade, business, profession or vocation; or
  • Any course, seminar or conference that you completed between 1 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2014 which is relevant to your new employment, trade, business, profession or vocation in 2015.

Courses Not Eligible for Relief

  • Seminars, courses or conferences for recreational or leisure purposes
  • Seminars, courses and conferences for general skills or knowledge (e.g. Internet surfing course, social media skills, basic website building skills and Microsoft Office skills)
  • Courses, seminars and conferences to acquire skills or knowledge for a hobby instead of your profession (e.g. photography, sports and language courses).
  • Polytechnic/University courses if graduates have never exercised any employment or carried on any trade, profession or vocation previously.

What are the amounts of Course Fees Relief?

You can claim the actual course fees incurred by yourself up to a maximum of $5,500 each year regardless of the number of courses, seminars or conferences you have attended.

You can claim only the portion of course fees, which you paid. Any amount paid or reimbursed by your employer or any other organisation cannot be claimed.

You may claim the following types of fees:

  • Aptitude test fees (for computer courses)
  • Examination fees
  • Registration or enrolment fees
  • Tuition fees

 

Course fees partially paid by employer

If you are a photographer and you attended a two-day workshop on picture editing, which costs $1,800. Your employer subsidised 75% of the cost of the workshop. You can claim the relief as follows:

Course Fees which are partially paid by your employer

Workshop Fees

$1,800

Workshop Fees Subsidised by Employer

$1,350 (75% X $1,800)

Workshop Fees Paid by Employee

$  450 (25% X $1,500)

You may claim

$  450

What if the course spans a Number of Years?

For courses that span a number of years and where full payment has been made upfront, you may divide the course fees paid equally over the years.

Courses where full payment has been made upfront

If you paid $15,000 for a three-year course in 2015, you can claim the relief as follows:

Course Fee Calculation Example 1

Course Fees Paid in Full in 2015

$15,000

Claim in YA 2016

$5,000

Claim in YA 2017

$5,000

Claim in YA 2018

$5,000

Deferring Course Fee Relief Claims

You can defer your claim for Course Fee Relief if your assessable income is $22,000 or below in YA 2016 and you have studied the course, or attended the seminar or conference in 2015. You must claim:

  • Either in the first Year of Assessment when your assessable income exceeds $22,000
  • Within two years from YA 2016, whichever is earlier

Different scenarios for Deferring Course Fee Relief Claims

Assessable income ≤ $22,000 throughout the course duration

Ms Lee is a beautician and takes up a part-time vocational course in catering. Her course begins on 1 July 2011 and ends on 30 May 2013.

She continues working as a beautician after the course is completed. Her annual assessable income, course fee expenditure and amount of Course Fees Relief are as follows:

Course Fee Calculation Example 2

Year

Year of Assessment (YA)

Annual Assessable Income

Course Fees Paid

Course Fees Relief

2011

2012

$18,000

$2,500

Deferred

2012

2013

$19,000

$1,500

Deferred

2013

2014

$20,000

$2,000

Deferred

2014

2015

$21,750

 Nil

Deferred

2015

2016

$23,000

 Nil

$5,500

Ms Lee is allowed to defer her claim on Course Fees Relief since her assessable income for YA 2012 to YA 2014 (i.e. during the course duration) did not exceed $22,000. She is allowed to defer her claim to YA 2015 or YA 2016.

However, as her income did not exceed $22,000 in YA 2015, she can claim the relief in YA 2016.

In YA 2016, she is entitled to claim a relief of $5,500, even though she has incurred $6,000 on course fee. This is because when a taxpayer defers a claim in Course Fees Relief, it can only be claimed once, with a maximum allowable relief of $5,500.

Assessable income fluctuates above and below $22,000

Mr Lin is an IT programmer. In 2012, he resigned from his company and took a two-year Masters course in IT programming Management.

After completing his first year, he deferred his course for a year and in 2013, worked full time. He resumed his full time studies in 2014.

On completing his course in 2015, he was again employed by his former employer. His annual assessable income, course fee expenditure and amount of Course Fees Relief are as follows: 

Course Fee Calculation Example 3

Year

Year of Assessment (YA)

Annual Assessable Income

Course Fees Paid

Course Fees Relief

2012

2013

$15,000

$5,000

Deferred

2013

2014

$40,000

Nil

$5,000

2014

2015

Nil

$4,000

Deferred

2015

2016

$50,000

Nil

$4,000

In YA 2014, Mr Lin must claim the relief for course fees of $5,000 incurred in 2012 as his income exceeded $22,000 in YA 2014.

Similarly, in YA 2016, he has to claim the relief on course fees of $4,000 incurred in 2014 as his income has exceeded $22,000 in YA 2016.

 

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