claiming fees from UK uni in German tax return

10 posts in this topic

Dear TT,

 

I studied in a UK university between 2006 and 2010. I took out a student loan during this time (standard one from the Student Loans Company).

In 2012 I moved to Germany, and have been paying back this student loan from 2013-2016. I have been working at the same time, in a field directly related to my degree (work in IT, degree was a BSc in Computer Science).

 

I went to the Munich Lohnsteuerhilfeverein (tax help) to file tax returns and was told there is a good chance I will get money back due to paying around €2500 each year for my student loan. I was also told that after I pay it all back there is little point in doing tax returns as I will get no money back.

 

Recently I got a reply from the Finanzamt regarding my tax return applications (forwarded to me from the Tax Help office), saying that since I wasn't paying tax during my studies, I am not eligible for any tax refunds. This makes little sense to me.

 

I am about to call the Tax Help guys to ask how this is relevant, but as my faith in them has waned since I received this reply I wanted to ask whether you know of any similar precedents or regulations that would impact this.

 

Thanks in advance!
Steph

 

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There is a thread on this which might be of interest:

 

Are US and other international student loans deductable here?

 

Can some clever person tell me how to link Toytown threads properly?

 

 

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You copy the URL of that thread by clicking on the little "share" icon at the right of a post, mark the URL and simultaneously press CTRL and C (STRG instead of CTRL if you have a German keyboard).

You then paste it into a reply by simultaneously pressing CTRL and V (STRG instead of CTRL if you have a German keyboard).: https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/156815-income-tax-return-for-mba-tuition-fee/?do=findComment&comment=3303000

 

But instead of just pasting it into an existing line of text, you paste it into a new line, all on its own:

and then immediately press the "Enter", i.e. "Return" key on your keyboard.

This will turn that URL into the nice clickable link that you see above.

 

@steph_b

Please read that entire linked thread.

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Hi PandaMunich,

 

I already read that thread but wanted confirmation that things haven't changed.

I guess this is the relevant part for me:

 

On 11/27/2014, 9:38:40, PandaMunich said:

German income tax law is dominated by the Zuflußprinzip (and Abflußprinzip), as explained in §11 EStG. This means that you only declare income in the year that you actually received it and can only claim for costs when you actually pay for something.In case of a loan, you only pay when paying back the loan (it was the bank who paid before), and if this paying back happens while you are living in Germany, then you can claim for it in your German tax return.

I would have expected the Tax Help office to know this though :-/ a bit disappointing that I will have to explain this to them.

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I think the problem is more that - since university is free in Germany - the only education loans the Finanzamt will have come across are loans students took out to cover their living expenses (which are not tax deductible), and for those kinds of loans, only the interest is tax deductible (which, considering that this is interest for costs that are not themselves tax deductible, is already a generous arrangement).

 

So you will have to explain to them the concept of university tuition fees e.g. by also providing them with copies of your uni tuition invoices (but you will be met with disbelief that anybody would be willing to pay that much money for something you can get for free in Germany) and prove to them that you really paid uni tuition fees with that loan, and not your living expenses.

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All the documents have already been provided, but I will call Finanzamt to explain again... should be fun :)

Thank you for your information!

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Ha. Update:

 

I talked to the Tax Help guys, they said they will try to clarify with the Finanzamt.

They did however say that since I did not pay tax on the loan when I "received" it, that maybe I will only be able to claim tax back on the interest I had to pay and not on the actual loan amount.

 

From what I understand, this isn't applicable here -  can anyone provide information as to why? (In case I have to tell the Tax Help office if they fail to convince the Finanzamt)

 

Thanks,

Steph

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My husband will go to the UK for a year to study for a masters degree. It is directly related to his undergraduate degree. We are residents in Germany (Irish citizens) and I am currently on tax class III as he is not working. Will his tuition fees in the UK (around GBP 6000) be tax deductible? What about rent and supplies (the masters is in design)?!

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Yes to both.

You claim for them in his Ankage N, which won't have any income on it but just those expenses. Since you're married, these expenses will then lower your taxable income from your salary.

 

He should not deregister here, i.e. officially remain resident in Germany all the time.

Should the Finanzamt ever get difficult about him not living here, tell them his centre of life (= Lebensmittelpunkt) is here in Germany, with his wife, you.

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Quote
On 8/5/2017, 10:13:02, PandaMunich said:

Yes to both.

 

Thanks for the assistance so far PandaMunich - informative across a few threads I've come across so far. 

 

I'm in a similar yet different situation.

 

I've been a full-time resident of Munich for ~4 years.

 

I have student debt (called a HELP debt/loan) with the Australian govt. from a double-degree undergraduate well in excess of double figure thousands. The debt exclusively relates to academic course expenses, nothing to do with living expenses. The debt is effectively with the Australian Tax Office, which, if I were still living in Australia, would take a proportional amount of my pre-tax income to pay-off the debt gradually. I could also choose to make a voluntary lump-sum repayment. Would I be able to claim this repayment? If so, how much would I be able to claim per year. I have read conflicting accounts about a) getting a refund for undergraduate/bachelors degree expenses; b. getting refunds for loan repayments and the old Zuflußprinzip. Has anyone here enjoyed a positive experience with a tax consultant in munich who is well versed in international student debt?

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