News and Events

Important TAP Deadlines: February 14 & March 15

We want to remind you of two important upcoming deadlines (February 14 and March 15) for those of you who are using the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for Harvard classes during the spring 2021 semester (including the January term).  As you may know, Harvard is now withholding tax for graduate-level tuition benefits that meet certain criteria. This tax can add up to a substantial amount of money withheld from your paycheck, so if you are taking a Harvard class for graduate credit this semester, it is important that you read this entire message.

This message describes two different ways for you to avoid owing some or all of the tax on your TAP benefits this semester, and it also explains more about how the tax is applied. You can disregard this message if you are taking your courses for undergraduate credit or no credit (or not taking classes at all) — it is only relevant for those taking Harvard classes for graduate credit.

Harvard TAP Form Deadline: Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Harvard Benefits Office requires all staff who are using the Harvard Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) this semester to fill out a TAP Form. You can find the TAP form by clicking on the second blue bar on this page: The form is due February 14 for the Harvard Extension School and most other Harvard schools (a few may have a later deadline).

As described on the page “Harvard TAP Tax Policy” on our website, in order to ensure compliance with IRS policy, Harvard is now withholding tax from your paycheck for any graduate-level tuition benefits (TAP) you receive from Harvard valued over $5,250 per calendar year for non-job-related classes.  Please note that the tax is based on the real value of each course, not how much you pay with your staff discount (for example, at the Extension School staff only pay $40 per class, but the real value of each class is $2,900). You can see a detailed example of how the tax is applied on the TAP policy page.

You may be able to avoid owing any tax on your classes if you use the TAP form to attest that your course is job-related and have your supervisor sign that section of the form. Read more about how “job-relatedness” criteria can be applied here.

If you feel that your course is not job-related or if you are unable to get your supervisor’s signature, check “no” in the job-relatedness section on the TAP form and skip to the next section of the form. If you check “no”, you will owe the tax on your graduate-level tuition benefits totally over $5,250 for the year, however, Harvard is offering 40% reimbursement of that tax for the spring 2021 semester (and the January 2021 term) if you apply by March 15. See details on the reimbursement program under item 2, below.

Tax Reimbursement Deadine: Monday, March 15, 2021

If your course is not job-related (or if you are unable to get your supervisor’s signature on your TAP form), you can apply for 40% reimbursement of any tax you owe on Harvard courses for the spring 2021 semester (including the January term) using the Transitional TAP Fund (TTF). And, if you enrolled in a degree program prior to July 1, 2019, you can apply for 100% reimbursement of the tax owed. You can find the TTF reimbursement form on Benefit Strategies website (click on the third blue bar): This form is due March 15, 2021. You can learn more about how the Transitional TAP Fund works on page 4 of the Q&A sheet created by Harvard. The 40% tax reimbursement is for the spring 2021 semester only. There will be no more TTF assistance after spring 2021.

Please note that although HUCTW is sending out this reminder, the TAP tax process is overseen and administered by the Harvard Benefits Office — it is their policy. And the Harvard Benefits Office hires the company, Benefit Strategies, to receive and process all Harvard TAP and TTF forms. You should direct follow-up questions about TAP tax policies and the status of your TAP and TTF forms to those two offices.
The Benefits Office and Benefit Strategies often receive many phone calls around this time so you may find it easier to email them, rather than sitting on-hold on the phone:

Please let us know if you have any questions about anything above.