With children heading off to university or other higher education we are often asked if there are any tax reliefs for the, not insubstantial, costs which are often borne by parents.
Generally the cost of education is a private expense and tax relief is not available, however, there is a limited opportunity in some circumstances where children are employed in the family business.
This is found tucked away in s776 ITTOIA 2005 which provides a tax exemption for scholarship income. HMRC practice is to apply this exemption to employers who pay a scholarship towards an employee’s full-time education at university, technical college or similar educational establishment.
There are conditions of course but the exemption can allow the employer to pay up to £15,480 towards travel, accommodation and subsistence costs incurred whilst on the study course. This does not include wages whilst the individual is working for the business.
The student must be a bona fide employee of the business in their own right. This exemption does not extend to the children of directors and employees, and a scholarship in that case would be taxed on the parent.
If this is something that you would like to explore further, please contact me or your usual point of contact at Albert Goodman.