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Can I deduct the costs of my MBA study of EUR 55,000 in my Dutch tax return?

I am considering starting a part-time MBA and would like to know how I may claim related costs (travel, books, accommodation directly related to the study) as tax deductible expenses ?

Also what is the preferred method for the tax deduction; as a rebate at the end of the tax year or as a monthly deduction from the salary?


As an estimate the cost of the education will be approximately 45,000 (GBP), equivalent to approx 55,000(Euros)


If you can advise me or direct me to be informed on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Since the study costs will be made to get a better job in the future the costs can indeed be deductible in your Dutch tax return.

However, travel and accommodation are not deductible, but books and study fees are.

Important is also that there is a maximum amount deductible per year of € 15,000 (after deduction of the thershold of € 500 which is never deductible). So arrange that the payment of the MBA fee is spread out over several years. Otherwise you will lose a big part of the deduction.

Whether you want to claim the refund at the end of the year or during the year is entirely up to you. This depends for example on whether you need the money in advance since you are otherwise not able to pay the study expenses. In case of advanced payment it will be a monthly refund to you, not a monthly reduction of the wage tax in the salary administration.

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Comments (8)
Comment by hi on Sat, May 26th, 2012 at 11:19 AM
hi - would you please advise if this benefit can be availed even if we live and work in holland ( so pay tax in holland ) but study parttime or online in another country and therefore pay fees in another country ?thanks in advance
Comment by arjan enneman on Mon, Jun 11th, 2012 at 2:24 PM
irrelevant is in which country you studied or if the institution is based outside the netherlands. important is that you have paid the fees and that you were tax resident in the netherlands when you followed the study and paid the fees.
Comment by rm on Sat, Jan 26th, 2013 at 8:16 PM
hi. could you please advise how this deduction is applied:- are the 15,000 euros refunded in full each year?- or simply applied as a reduction to the taxable income? example: salary of 75k euros less 15k euros = 60k euros taxable income; in which case the allowance would correspond to the non-taxed income only (roughly 48% of 15k euros).thank you.
Comment by arjan enneman on Thu, Feb 7th, 2013 at 11:03 AM
it is a deduction on your taxable income, not a full refund. see
Comment by agha on Tue, Feb 18th, 2014 at 7:22 PM
dear arjan,i would like to claim my tuition fee costs for 2011 and 2012 academic year (i recently got a job). next to that, i would like to file 2013 income tax return. i was wondering do i have to mentioned paid tuition fees in 2013 income return or have to go back 2011 and 2012 years and make amendments to my tax return for 2011 and 2012 ? thanks a lot in advance for your response.
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Thu, Oct 15th, 2015 at 9:44 AM
Education costs have to be deducted in the year of payment. So if payments were made in another year the tax return for that year will have to be filed or adjusted if you already filed it without the education costs.
Comment by Vanessa on Fri, May 13th, 2016 at 11:43 PM
Good morning, Could you please tell me what happens if you have done your MBA in the Netherlands and then went back to your non-EU origin country?. Can you get any refund ? Thank you
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Mon, May 30th, 2016 at 3:07 PM
A refund is only possible if you actually paid tax in the Netherlands. The deduction will reduce your taxable income and as such reduce the tax you have to pay. If the withheld tax on your income was higher than the tax you have to pay based on the annual income tax return (in which the deduction is claimed), the difference can be paid back.
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