Can I deduct my education costs?
If you have decided to follow a course or to go to university, for example to get your MBA, these costs can be deductible.
When can I deduct the education costs?
You can deduct the study costs if the purpose of the study is to get a better job, to improve your job or to make a career step within the current company. The study must be work related. Studies followed as a hobby are not deductible, it must be evident that the study can be used to earn an (higher) income. Important is that there is a learning process. You must study under guidance or supervision of a teacher. It doesn't matter whether the study is provided by an official institution like a university or by a commercial organisation and whether it is offline or online.
The following costs can be deductible
- enrolment fee
- application fee
- costs of exams
- books and other literature
- materials and teaching aids
- costs of a promotion (PhD)
The following costs are never deductible
- computer equipment (including tablets, notebooks, internetconnection and other devices). No longer possible from 2014.
- your own life support, like housing, food and clothes
- travel costs and costs of staying somewhere else
- costs of study trips and excursions
- costs for a room where you can study including furniture
- interest on study loans
Minimum and maximum amount
Education costs can only be deductible if they are more than € 250. The first € 250 are not deductible (up to 2013 the threshold was € 500). The maximum deductible amount per year is € 15,000. This maximum is not applicable during the so called "standard study period". The standard study period is a maximum period of 16 quarters during which the majority of time is spent on the study, leaving not enough time to also have a full time job. The standard study period lies between the day you become 18 and the day you become 30. You can decide when the period starts. The period doesn't have to be one continuous period.
The deduction only concerns costs made for yourself or your fiscal partner. Costs made for your children, like university fees or international school fees are never deductible as education costs in your tax return. The costs must also be paid by yourself or your fiscal partner.
For the deduction it is relevant when the costs were paid. If the costs of your study in a year are higher than the maximum annual deductible amount of € 15,000 then look at the possibilities you have to spread payments over multiple years.