Training of Employees

Businesses may claim PIC benefits on costs incurred to provide training to employees for the purposes of trade and business. Training may refer to external training and in-house training.

Training Expenditure that Qualifies for PIC

Qualifying training costs include training for all employees. It does not matter whether they are local or foreign employees. External and in-house training can qualify for PIC.

External Training

The fees for the training course are paid to an external training service provider.

In-House Training

The course is conducted by employees of the businesses where expenditure is incurred in relation to the provision of the following:

  1. Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) training courses accredited* and conducted by a WSQ in-house training provider
  2. Courses approved by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) under the ITE Approved Training Centre scheme
  3. On-the-job training by an On-the-job Training Centre certified by ITE

For YA 2012 to YA 2018, qualifying training expenditure incurred on in-house training not accredited* and conducted by a WSQ in-house training provider or approved/ certified by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will also qualify for PIC, subject to a cap of $10,000 for each YA. The claim must still be within the overall expenditure cap on training.

For YA 2011, businesses have to ensure that their in-house training is accredited* and conducted by a WSQ in-house training provider or ITE-approved/certified training course before claiming PIC.

The qualifying expenditure for PIC benefits is the expenditure amount minus the grant or subsidy by the Government or any statutory boards.

*"Accredited", in relation to a course, means accredited: (a) by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) before 3 Oct 2016; or (b) by the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency on or after 3 Oct 2016.

There is no need to deduct the Absentee Payroll funding to arrive at the qualifying expenditure for PIC. This is because the Absentee Payroll funding is given separately to help employers defray the manpower costs incurred on employees attending training.

In-House Training

In-house training must, in general, be:

  1. Accredited* and conducted by a WSQ in-house training provider; or
  2. Approved/certified by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

*"Accredited", in relation to a course, means accredited: (a) by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) before 3 Oct 2016; or (b) by the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency on or after 3 Oct 2016.

However, some forms of in-house training may qualify for PIC without external certification. These include:

  1. Training staff to operate specialised equipment(s) with the help of instruction manuals;
  2. Training staff on business operating processes and functions in a group setting, with prepared materials and handouts; or
  3. Training staff on key skill sets such as regular sessions on customer service.

Spontaneous consultation, day-to-day problem solving or meetings and coaching/mentoring sessions between supervisors and subordinates will not qualify for PIC.

  1. Salary and other remuneration of in-house trainers for the delivery of the training courses (i.e. based on the hours spent delivering the courses), excluding directors' fees;
  2. Rental of external training premises;
  3. Meal and refreshments provided during the courses; and
  4. Training materials and stationery.
  1. Salary and other remuneration paid to in-house trainers for their other duties, including time spent in the preparation of course contents and training material;
  2. Salary and other remuneration paid to employees who provide administrative support to the training department;
  3. Absentee payroll (i.e. salaries and other remuneration of any employee attending the training courses);
  4. Accommodation, travelling and transportation expenditure; and
  5. Imputed overheads like rental and cost of utilities.

Expenditure Cap on In-House Non-Accredited Training

From YA 2012, non-accredited or ITE-approved/ certified training can qualify for PIC, subject to a cap of $10,000 per YA.

You may also refer to our Worked Examples (194KB) for a detailed illustration of how a business can claim PIC benefits for each of the scenarios below:

  • Scenario A: Claim for Enhanced Deduction
  • Scenario B: Electing for Cash Payout
  • Scenario C: Claim for Enhanced Deduction and Elect for Cash Payout

Please keep proper records and documents of your training expenditure to support your claims for PIC.

External Training

External training is where course fees are paid to an external training service provider. For outsourced training, there is no specific requirement for the external trainer to be a certified trainer.

  1. Training fees paid to the external training provider qualify for PIC benefits, including registration or enrollment fees, examination fees, tuition fees and aptitude test fees. It does not matter whether the course or seminar is held in Singapore or overseas;
  2. Rental expenses for external training premises, meal and refreshments provided during the courses, training materials and stationery separately incurred; and
  3. Expenses such as hotel accommodation, travelling (e.g. air fare) and transportation expenditure incurred by your business for the external trainer.

Expenses such as accommodation, travelling and transportation expenditure incurred by the employees attending the course.

If the service provider includes accommodation and airfare when charging the overseas course fees but has not provided a breakdown for such charges, you may use the market rate for accommodation and airfare to compute the disallowable amount.

You may refer to our Worked Examples (182KB) for a detailed illustration of how a business can claim PIC benefits on external training for each of the scenarios below:
  • Scenario A: Claim for Enhanced Deduction
  • Scenario B: Electing for Cash Payout
  • Scenario C: Claim for Enhanced Deduction and Elect for Cash Payout
Please keep proper records and documents of your training expenditure to support your claims for PIC.

Administrative Requirements

Please keep proper records and documents of your training expenditure to support your PIC claims. You only need to submit these documents if asked by IRAS to do so.

Documents that you should keep include:

  1. Name of course/training
  2. Exact date(s), duration and venue of course/training
  3. Full name, designation and qualification of trainer(s)
  4. Full name, identification number (e.g. NRIC), designation and employment period of trainee(s)
  5. Course objectives, course outline and a copy of the course handout or training manual
  6. Basis and computation of how the training cost was arrived at
  7. Itemised breakdown of qualifying expenditure with supporting documents (e.g. timesheet maintained by the trainer(s))
  1. Name of course/training
  2. Exact date(s), duration and venue of course/training
  3. Full name, designation and qualification of trainer(s)
  4. Full name, identification number (e.g. NRIC), designation and employment period of trainee(s)
  5. Course objectives, course outline and a copy of the course handout or training manual
  6. Basis and computation of how the training cost was arrived at
  7. Itemised breakdown of qualifying expenditure with supporting documents (e.g. timesheet maintained by the trainer(s))
  8. A copy of the certification letter issued by the relevant agencies
  1. Name of course/training
  2. Exact date(s), duration and venue of course/training
  3. Full name, designation and qualification of trainer(s)
  4. Full name, identification number (e.g. NRIC), designation and employment period of trainee(s)
  5. Course objectives, course outline and a copy of the course handout or training manual
  6. A copy of the invoice(s) issued by the external training provider
  7. Evidence of payment (e.g. bank statement)

Examples of Qualifying and Non-Qualifying Expenditure

Qualifying Expenditure

Non-Qualifying Expenditure

  1. External course fees for employees (regardless of whether they must sit for an examination)
  2. Costs incurred on internal Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) courses for employees' skills upgrading
  3. Training conducted by your holding company for your employees.
  4. External training for employees to use recently purchased software.
  5. From YA 2012 to YA 2018, qualifying training expenditure incurred on the following prescribed classes of individuals engaged by the business to carry on its trade will qualify for PIC:
    1. Salespersons registered under the Estate Agent Act;
    2. Representatives within the meaning of the Financial Advisers Act;
    3. Representatives within the meaning of the Securities and Futures Act;
    4. Insurance agents of insurers licensed under the Insurance Act; and
    5. Hirers of taxis from taxi service operators licensed under the Road Traffic Act.
  6. From YA 2014 to YA 2018, training of individuals deployed under a centralised hiring arrangement from YA 2014
  7. From YA 2014 to YA 2018, examination fees with no training involved but where self-study is required
  1. Course fees on training attended by business owners i.e. sole proprietor/ partner except for non-equity partner (who is considered an employee). For example, a sole proprietor who attends a course on motivating employees will not be able to claim PIC benefits on the course fee. The sole proprietor can claim the course fee as a course fee relief in his personal income tax return.  
  2. Examination fees with no training involved and no element of self-study on the employees' part (e.g. fees paid by employers for pure certification/evaluation of employee skill level)
  3. Consultancy fees and PIC audit fee 
  4. Fees paid for “personal tuition” for employees and/or director e.g. engagement of personal tutor to coach employees for attainment of certification
  5. Training fees incurred by a sole-proprietor/partner, except for non-equity salaried partner (who is considered an employee)

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