Course Fees Relief

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

Courses that Qualify for Relief

You can claim relief for the Year of Assessment (YA) 2017 on the course fees paid in 2016 for:

  1. Any course, seminar or conference you attended in 2016 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 skill or knowledge should be one that can be applied in a vocation or a specific area in an industry; and
    2. the course, seminar or conference provider is a Singapore registered entity with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

    You can use the online tool on ACRA website or check with the programme provider to find out if the course provider is a Singapore registered entity.

  2. Any course, seminar or conference you attended in 2016 that is relevant to your current employment, trade, business, profession or vocation; or
  3. Any course, seminar or conference that you completed between 1 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2015 which is relevant to your new employment, trade, business, profession or vocation in 2016.

Courses Not Eligible for Relief

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

Amount 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:

  1. Aptitude test fees (for computer courses);
  2. Examination fees;
  3. Registration or enrolment fees; and/or
  4. Tuition fees.

You are a photographer and you attended a two-day workshop on photo editing which costs $1,500. Your employer subsidised 75% of the cost of the workshop. You can claim the relief as follows:

Workshop Fees

$1,500

Workshop Fees Subsidised by Employer

$1,125 (75% X $1,500)

Workshop Fees Paid by Employee

$  375 (25% X $1,500)

You may claim

$  375

Courses That Span 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.

You paid $9,000 for a three-year course in 2016, you can claim the relief as follows:

Course Fees Paid in Full in 2016

$9,000

Claim in YA 2017

$3,000

Claim in YA 2018

$3,000

Claim in YA 2019

$3,000

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 2017 and you have studied the course, or attended the seminar or conference in 2016. You must claim:

  1. Either in the first Year of Assessment when your assessable income exceeds $22,000; or
  2. Within two years from YA 2017, whichever is earlier.

Scenarios for Deferring Course Fee Relief Claims

Ms Lim is a hairdresser and she took up a part-time vocational course in tourism. Her course began on 1 July 2012 and ended on 30 May 2014.

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

Year

Year of Assessment (YA)

Annual Assessable Income

Course Fees Paid

Course Fees Relief

2012

2013

$19,000

$2,000

Deferred

2013

2014

$20,000

$3,000

Deferred

2014

2015

$21,000

$1,000

Deferred

2015

2016

$21,500

 Nil

Deferred

2016

2017

$23,000

 Nil

$5,500

Ms Lim is allowed to defer her claim on Course Fees Relief since her assessable income for YA 2013 to YA 2015 (i.e. during the course duration) did not exceed $22,000. She is allowed to defer her claim to YA 2016 or YA 2017.

However, as her income did not exceed $22,000 in YA 2016, she can claim the relief in YA 2017.

In YA 2017, 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.

Mr Goh is an IT security executive. In 2013, he resigned from his company and took a two-year Masters course in IT Security Management.

After completing his first year, he deferred his course for a year and in 2014, worked full time.  He resumed his full time studies in 2015.

On completing his course in 2016, he was again employed by his former employer. His annual assessable income, course fee expenditure and amount of Course Fees Relief are as follows: 

Year

Year of Assessment (YA)

Annual Assessable Income

Course Fees Paid

Course Fees Relief

2013

2014

$15,000

$4,000

Deferred

2014

2015

$40,000

Nil

$4,000

2015

2016

Nil

$3,000

Deferred

2016

2017

$50,000

Nil

$3,000

In YA 2015, Mr Goh must claim the relief for course fees of $4,000 incurred in 2013 as his income exceeded $22,000 in YA 2015.

Similarly, in YA 2017, he has to claim the relief on course fees of $3,000 incurred in 2015 as his income has exceeded $22,000 in YA 2017.

Mrs Lau was a finance executive. She attended a three-year part-time accountancy post-diploma course from 2012 to 2014. On completion, she became a homemaker.
Her annual assessable income, course fee expenditure and amount of Course Fees Relief are as follows:

Year

Year of Assessment (YA)

Annual Assessable Income

Course Fees Paid

Course Fees Relief

2012

2013

$20,000

$2,500

Deferred

2013

2014

$25,000

$4,000

$5,500

2014

2015

Nil

$1,000

Deferred

2015

2016

Nil

Nil

Deferred

2016

2017

Nil

Nil

Forfeited 

In YA 2014, Mrs Lau must claim the relief for course fees incurred for YA 2013 and YA 2014 (total: $6,500) as her income exceeded $22,000 in YA 2014. The relief has been capped at $5,500.

As Mrs Lau has no assessable income during YA 2016 and YA 2017, she cannot claim the relief on the course fees ($1,000) incurred for YA 2015.

This amount is forfeited in YA 2017.

Ms Tan is an engineer. She quit her job and took up a baking course in Mar 2014. She completed the course in Aug 2014. In Sep 2016, she opened a bakery.

Her annual assessable income, course fee expenditure and amount of Course Fees Relief are as follows:

YearYear of Assessment (YA)Annual Assessable IncomeCourse Fees PaidCourse Fees Relief
20142015$80,000 $3,000Nil.  The course is not related to her profession as an engineer in 2014.
20152016NilNilNil
20162017$30,000Nil$3,000. Her income is above $22,000 and she has changed her career to one that is relevant to her course. Therefore she is allowed to claim for Course Fees Relief.

How to Claim (e-Filing)

  1. Login with your SingPass or IRAS PIN at myTax Portal.
  2. Go to Individuals > “File Form B/B1”.
  3. Select “Edit My Tax Form”.
  4. Go to “4. Deductions, Reliefs and Parenthood Tax Rebate”.
  5. Go to “Course Fees” and enter your claim.

How to Claim (Paper Filing)

Form B1

Complete item 6(h) on page 2.

Form B

Complete item 6(h) on page 3.

  • I have filed my tax return for Year of Assessment (YA) 2017. What should I do if I have forgotten to claim or need to revise or withdraw my claim for Course Fees Relief?

    1. If you filed your tax return online

      Re-file within 14 days of your previous submission or by 18 Apr 2017, whichever is the earlier. You can only re-file once.
      When you re-file, you must include all your income details and expenses, donations and relief claims, where applicable. Once you have re-filed successfully, your new submission will override the previous submission.

    2. If you filed a paper tax return or you could not re-file your tax return online

    Please email us:

    1. your request to claim or revise the relief for YA 2017;
    2. the amount of relief that you wish to claim or revise;
    3. the name of institution/school and the course attended;
    4. the date(s) of payment of the course fees;
    5. the amount of course fees paid on each date in (iv); and
    6. that you have met the qualifying conditions
  • I have received my tax bill for Year of Assessment (YA) 2017. The amount of Course Fees Relief is incorrect/ I wish to withdraw my claim for Course Fees Relief. What should I do?

    Please file an objection within 30 days from the date of your tax bill using the “Objection to Assessment” e-Service in myTax Portal.

    If you are unable to use the e-service, you may email us stating:

    1. your request to claim or revise the relief for YA 2017;
    2. the amount of relief that you wish to claim or revise;
    3. the name of institution/school and the course attended;
    4. the date(s) of payment of the course fees;
    5. the amount of course fees paid on each date in (iv); and
    6. that you have met the qualifying condition

    You may also withdraw your claim by sending an email, fax or post stating you want to withdraw your claim.

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