Is the cost to obtain a professional certification tax-deductible?

Is the cost to obtain a professional certification tax-deductible?

by Scott Rubinsky, CPA | Jan 24, 2018

Is the cost to obtain a professional certification that is beneficial to have in my role tax-deductible? Is the renewal of a certification tax-deductible?

The answer depends on whether you are an employee or an independent contractor.

If you are an independent contractor and the expense is necessary to the business, then the cost may be deducted on your Schedule C.

If you are an employee, it’s important to know whether the expense is a requirement for the position. If so, it is reported on Form 2106, and the unreimbursed expenses must exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income. (FYI, this employee deduction on Form 2106 will no longer be available in 2018 due to changes in tax law.)

So, if you are an employee, the answer to your question is maybe. As long as the unreimbursed expenses, less any employer reimbursements, are greater than 2 percent of adjusted gross income, the expenses may be deducted.

For more resources, check out PICPA’s Money & Life Tips, Ask a CPA, or CPA Locator.

Answered by: Scott Rubinsky, CPA, is a sole practitioner in Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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