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TonyTax
TonyTax, Tax Consultant
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I am retired, 71 male, married, living in the UK. In September

Customer Question

I am retired, 71 male, married, living in the UK. In September 2015 I will commence a PhD for 4 years in a UK university. Can I claim a tax deduction for my annual fees, (2015 will be at least £4000), can I claim travel allowances/expenses as I will have to under take some research in other parts of the UK and perhaps the USA and Europe? My income for 2014/15 was £72,000 before tax. I generally pay £1,500 per month in tax. Is there any means of reducing this figure to assist with my university fees and costs?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  TonyTax replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

I'm afraid that you will not be able to get any tax relief for the cost of your PhD course or the ancillary costs as you say that you are retired and, therefore, I assume you are not self-employed or employed. If you were working and your employer paid the costs, you would not normally have to pay tax on them. Take a look here for some related notes from the HMRC manuals.

I'm sorry I cannot give you better news. Let me know if you have any further questions.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

If I was to start lecturing for payment, before I acquired a PhD, I currently have an MBA, BA (Hons) and BSc, is it possible for me to drawn down from that source of lecturing money to the PhD as a prospect of increasing my skills in knowledge on a lecturing circuit?

Expert:  TonyTax replied 2 years ago.
If you were to run a business and you took a course which was designed to enhance or update your skills, then you may be able to claim the course fees. I'm not sure that a PhD course would be considered by HMRC as updating or enhancing existing skills.

If a course is adding to existing skills as opposed to enhancing them, the cost is normally treated as capital in nature. HMRC may also take a view of the time the PhD will take and may not see it as continuing professional development, the costs of which would be deductible but as a capital expense.

Take a look here for some more commentary from the HMRC manual.

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