Taxfile: Scholarship Income

By scholarship we mean an exhibition, bursary or any other similar educational endowment. If the holder of the scholarship is receiving full-time education at a university, college or school then the income from the scholarship is exempt from tax.
The rate of payment including lodging, subsistence and travelling allowances is now £15,480 a year, £1,290 a month or £297.92 a week. This rate has increased from £15,000 (rate used up to 01/09/2005) to £15480 (from 01/09/2007 onwards).
Important to note is that this exemption does not apply to payments of earnings made for any periods spent working for the employer during vacations.
If the rate exceeds £15,480 HMRC will look at the arrangements in detail. This is because the level of payment exceeds what might reasonably be described as a scholarship or training allowance. However, an increase in the rate of payment over the qualifying limit, part way through a course, will not affect the exemption applying to any payments for the earlier part of the course
One of the condition to be met by the employee receiving the scholarship, is that he/she must be enrolled at the educational establishment for at least one academic year and must attend the course for at least twenty weeks in that academic year.
Also, the educational establishments must be recognized universities, technical colleges or similar educational establishments, which are open to members of the public generally and offer more than one course of practical or academic instruction.
Very important to know is that the concepts of “earnings” and “scholarship income” are mutually exclusive.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that there are a few factors to consider when dealing with scholarship income:
•the relationship between the payer and the recipient;
•the nature of the course;
•where the course is being undertaken;
•whether it is full time;
• total amount.
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