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The wording of this answer is spot on, but also one of the key reasons why people hate tax. When clients give these completely true ideas some thought they often ask, "How exactly do I improve or maintain my skills through education but not meet the minimum educational requirements of my current job or qualify for a new profession?" That seems impossible in a practical sense. Well, the word "profession" is important here. Professions are more specific than jobs. For example a CPA, law, or Professional Engineer (PE) license and work in those fields amount to more than just jobs, but professions. Thus, in the setting of this question, the MBA, being broad, not establishing a profession in and of itself, and presumably not being minimum qualifying for the client's current job, would likely allow for deductibility. Also, the ordinary and necessary standards are likely met as a prerequisite matter here. However, documentation of amounts and other key details, with notes on the question of how, even if made by the client via handwriting on the documentation, would make these sorts of deductions more reasonable, as a matter to establish, and defensible in the event of audit or examination. For example, ask, "How does the MBA improve or maintain your skills for your business?" These answers should be documented, even if done by handwritten note on receipts. Why? The taxpayers has the burden of proof on all deductions and the kind of documentation I'm describing here allows for, at a minimum, a shift of the burden of proof from the taxpayer back to the IRS, and at a maximum ends completely the debate over whether the expense is deductible — in favor of the taxpayer.