The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is asking its members to create five-minute videos that demonstrate the value of a tuition assistance tax break that is scheduled to expire at the end of 2010.
SHRM has joined with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities to chair a coalition that supports the passage of legislation that would make permanent Section 127 of the IRS code, which allows employees to exclude from federal taxation up to $5,250 per year in tuition assistance provided by their employers.
SHRM’s Government Affairs Department is asking members to produce short videos indicating how employer-provided education assistance has helped them fulfill an educational goal or earn a promotion, or how it has enhanced their workplace by adding to employees’ skills or improving morale.
The videos are needed by Dec. 17, 2010. Questions about them can be directed to Kathleen Coulombe, SHRM’s manager, tax and benefits, who can be reached at Kathleen.Coulombe@shrm.org.
SHRM’s Government Affairs Department plans to use the videos to educate members of Congress, the employer community and the public about the importance of employer-provided education assistance. In November 2010, in conjunction with SHRM’s Leadership Conference, nearly 200 SHRM members traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with their U.S. senators and representatives to push for preservation of the Section 127 provision.
“This benefit helps to ensure U.S. competitiveness in a global economy,” particularly by boosting skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said Coulombe. “If Section 127 were to expire on Dec. 31, 2010, many employees would be robbed of a unique learning opportunity and might not have another chance to realize their educational dreams,” she added.
Employers are not required to provide educational assistance to their employees. However, employers that provide the benefit must offer it to all employees on a nondiscriminatory basis. Congress has extended Section 127 eight times since the tax break was first enacted in 1978. In late 2010, the lame-duck Congress was working on a hotly contested tax package that would extend a variety of tax provisions, including some education provisions, Section 127 and a payroll tax credit.
2010 SHRM Leadership Conference, SHRM Advocacy Issues Update, Dec. 2, 2010
From the CEO: Tuition Tax Break Critical for Workforce, HR Magazine, November 2010
Coalition Works to Make Tuition Tax Break Permanent, HR News, Aug. 6, 2010