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Educating Your Employees Is A Tax-Deduction Worth Taking…

Sometimes business owners need their employees to develop or grow their expertise and skills in a particular area.

While training courses like seminars and one-day intensive sessions can be a worthwhile investment in your employee’s development, there are still a few things employers should consider from a tax point of view.

Although employers can claim deductions for the full costs incurred when providing education to employees, including aspects like travel costs, many owners tend to forget to consider FBT implications.

Paying for employee work-related course fees generally constitutes a fringe benefit and is therefore subject to FBT. However, FBT law allows a full or partial reduction of FBT payable provided that the ‘otherwise deductible’ rule is met.

The ‘otherwise deductible rule’ implies that if the employee had incurred the expense themselves, they could claim a deduction for the expense.

An education expense is considered to be hypothetically deductible to the employee depending on the type of course or education studied by the employee. The course must have a satisfactory connection to an employee’s current employment, maintain or improve the skills or knowledge required for the employee’s current role, or result in an increase in the employee’s income.

Employees cannot claim a deduction for education expenses if there is no connection to their current employment, even if it assists them in gaining new employment. For instance, a service station attendant undertaking a course in social media management cannot claim a deduction for that education expense unless their employer has installed them as a social media coordinator, and the course is to further that knowledge.

Specific membership fees and subscriptions paid by an employer are also exempt from FBT (such as subscriptions to a professional journal).

Upskilling your employees not only grants you an educated employee but a potential tax deduction on top of that. If you’re a business that allows its employees to upskill during work hours, you can claim that back as a training expense. With the rise of businesses enforcing specific days that can be dedicated to training their employees that employees are paid for, this might be something that your business should look into.

What you can claim as an employer and what you can claim as an employee can be similar, but have different taxable consequences. If you are unsure as to what can be claimed as a deductible and what cannot, speaking with a registered tax agent like us can clear up the confusion.

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.

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John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

Registered Building Certifier