Value of tuition waiver benefit was income

An individual was required to include in gross income the value of a tuition waiver benefit received during the tax year at issue. The taxpayer received the tuition waiver benefit for his son from a qualified educational institution. However, the taxpayer did not present any evidence other than a Form W-2 issued by the educational institution to prove that an employment relationship existed during the tax year at issue. Further, the taxpayer conceded that he did not work for the educational institution in any capacity after his termination in 1991. Additionally, the educational institution’s records confirmed that the taxpayer was not an employee since 1991. Moreover, the taxpayer’s termination was not contingent on age, years of service, or health considerations and he continued to work for a variety of other employers and himself after he was laid off by the educational institution. Therefore, the taxpayer’s separation from the educational institution did not fit within the ordinary meaning of the term “retirement.” Since the taxpayer was not an employee of the educational institution during the tax year at issue as contemplated by Code Sec. 117(d)(2)(A) or Code Sec. 132(h), he was not entitled to exclude from taxable income the value of the tuition waiver benefit received during the year at issue. (John A. Voigt and Lorinda C. Martin v. Commissioner, Docket No. 15709-16S, TC Summary Opinion 2018-251, Filed May 14, 2018.)

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