The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) eliminated a host of miscellaneous itemized deductions through 2025, including a deduction for job-related education expenses pursuant to Code Section 162. Simple enough.
Except that many employer-provided education benefits are directly tied to the employee’s right to claim a deduction under Section 162. These include tax-free employer payments and reimbursements for college courses and continuing education, as well as an employer’s in-kind provision of such education. If no individual deduction is available for such expenses under Section 162, can the employer still provide, pay for, or reimburse employees for education without it being taxable to the employee?