Deducting PhD fees from HK taxes

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  1. #1

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    Oct 2012
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    Deducting PhD fees from HK taxes

    Can you deduct the fees of your PhD course from your taxes?

    More details:

    If, as a grad student, you are receiving a university stipend, then as I understand it, that is not taxable in HK. However, assume you have a separate income from working part-time which is taxable. Now, the stipend itself doesn't cover the university fees, so you still have to pay them yourself (normally out of the stipend, but arguably it could be from your work salary). So my question is, can you deduct the fees as "self-education expenses" on the HK tax form?

    (I also assume a PhD considered to be a "job-related qualification", which some might find amusing...)


  2. #2

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    Dec 2005
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    Its said that it can be related to job in the future..

    You should be able to claim the part of fees..the part that cant be covered using the stipend...


  3. #3

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    The stipend amount > university fees. But the stipend is not a direct reimbursement for the fees, it is also meant to cover housing, maintenance, etc. So in this case, would you say self-education can or cannot be claimed?


  4. #4

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    This time of the year again... I'm still wondering about this question on the FAQ:

    Q: Does the expense of self-education need to be job related?
    A: The expense must be incurred in respect of prescribed courses which were undertaken for the purpose of gaining or maintaining qualifications for use in any employment. In other words, it must be related either to the present job or job in the future.

    What does that mean? You could argue any undergraduate or postgraduate degree is related to getting a future job. Does it need to be a specific job or job offer stipulating the need for training? Or can it really be anything?

    Though I suppose that if the student receives a stipend, then the point might be moot anyway as one could consider that the stipend is meant to cover the fees in which case you cannot claim (although the student stipend is just called a allowance and is meant to cover general studying and living expenses, there is no mention of specifically being a reimbursement for the course fees).


  5. #5

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    You can claim pretty much anything. If they don't like it they can always ask you questions later.


  6. #6

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    But wouldn't you get fined if you filed something incorrect? I'm not suggesting lying to purposely defraud the government, but just talking about cases where it's not 100% clear whether something can be legitimately claimed or not. Is the IRD quick to slap on fines or would they just review and ask you to pay up the extra amount if they found you shouldn't have claimed something?


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 441211:
    But wouldn't you get fined if you filed something incorrect? I'm not suggesting lying to purposely defraud the government, but just talking about cases where it's not 100% clear whether something can be legitimately claimed or not. Is the IRD quick to slap on fines or would they just review and ask you to pay up the extra amount if they found you shouldn't have claimed something?
    There is no fine for making a claim. They will just add back to your income and charge tax.