Is language course deductible?

7 posts in this topic

Hello everyone!

 

I am a freelancer. When I first got here, my German was ok but unfortunatelly not anymore. I always had English speaking clients and friends. (ashamed)

 

Recently I moved to another city and to be able to find and convince new clients, I need to have a better German. I decided to take same German classes just to find work again. I plan to go up to C1 level.

 

My first question is:

If I go to a language school to take German classes just because for my work, is it tax deductible?

 

My second question is:

I found this web page "italki", there are german classes there as well. One of them was even named "Business German and Job Application Training". Would it be tax deductible if I take classes online?

 

I plan to spend around 1.000 Euros for the classes. Is there a limit for such thing?

 

I went through the forum and found many contradicting answers about the topic. Some said yes, some said no, some said it changed in years. I am hoping to find someone that knows the situation, not guessing about it.

 

The language is really bloking my works way and I really need to sort it out quick =) .

 

Thank you very very very much!

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2 hours ago, pinkypink said:

The language is really blocking my works way and I really need to sort it out quick =) .

 

If that is the case whether the costs are tax-deductable seems to be irrelevant.

You should focus on finding a "good" class & also use the language outside of your work.

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3 hours ago, pinkypink said:

My first question is:

If I go to a language school to take German classes just because for my work, is it tax deductible?

(...)

I went through the forum and found many contradicting answers about the topic. Some said yes, some said no, some said it changed in years. I am hoping to find someone that knows the situation, not guessing about it.

 

While in 2005 a court decided German classes are deductible, the BFH (the highest german financial court) decided in 2007 that they are not.  

 

Generally language courses are deductible still – when they are job related. But in doubt you'd need to prove that fact. e.g. by written confirmations of clients or employers. 

 

And it would be difficult to prove that it's only job related when your lack of the language is a general one – then language courses are not deductible but part of your private cost of life. 

 

 

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Thank you all for your answers. I decided to take the classes without caring if they are deductible or not, theye are very important at the moment. But I will write here next year if they are, for other people to know  =)

 

I will find a freelancer to make me a website and logo design. I am guessing these should be deductible, right?

 

I am also going to take 3D drawing lessons (3ds Max), as I am a designer. I think they should also ok to deduct as well, they have nothing to do with my personal life. But what I am curious about is, those lessons are less than half priced in my home country. So I was thinking, instead of getting 1 lesson in Germany, I could go to my home country and get 3 lessons. Is there any rule about where to take lessons in order to deduct them?

 

I am very new and trying to find may way=)

 

Thank you!

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2 hours ago, pinkypink said:

I decided to take the classes without caring if they are deductible or not, theye are very important at the moment. But I will write here next year if they are, for other people to know  =)

 

I can save you the suspense, every clerk at the Finanzamt has the Lohnsteuer-Handbuch, a thick green hardcover book, and in it, it says on page 199, section H9.2 "Deutschkurs" EStH:

59a8675d2bc47_Screenshot2017-08-31at21.4

 

and in H12.1 "Deutschkurs" EStH:

 
Deutschkurs
Aufwendungen eines in Deutschland lebenden Ausländers für den Erwerb von Deutschkenntnissen sind regelmäßig nichtabziehbare Kosten der Lebensführung (>BFH vom 15.3.2007 - BStBl II S. 814 und >BMF vom 6.7.2010 - BStBl I S. 614, Rn. 19 ).

 

and for good measure, the BMF-Schreiben vom 6.7.2010, Randziffer 19:

 

19Soweit der BFH bisher die Abziehbarkeit anderer gemischter Aufwendungen mangels objektiver Aufteilungskriterien abgelehnt hat, ist weiterhin von der Nichtabziehbarkeit auszugehen.

Beispiele:
B6

Aufwendungen für Sicherheitsmaßnahmen eines Steuerpflichtigen zum Schutz von Leben, Gesundheit, Freiheit und Vermögen seiner Person (BFH vom 5. April 2006, BStBl II S. 541),

B7

Aufwendungen eines in Deutschland lebenden Ausländers für das Erlernen der deutschen Sprache (BFH vom 15. März 2007, BStBl II S. 814),

B8

Aufwendungen einer Landärztin für einen Schutzhund (BFH vom 29. März 1979, BStBl II S. 512),

B9

Einbürgerungskosten zum Erwerb der deutschen Staatsangehörigkeit (BFH vom 18. Mai 1984, BStBl II S. 588),

B10

Kosten für den Erwerb eines Führerscheins (BFH vom 8. April 1964, BStBl III S. 431).

 

The keyword in there is "nichtabziehbar" = not deductible.

 

2 hours ago, pinkypink said:

I am also going to take 3D drawing lessons (3ds Max), as I am a designer. I think they should also ok to deduct as well, they have nothing to do with my personal life. But what I am curious about is, those lessons are less than half priced in my home country. So I was thinking, instead of getting 1 lesson in Germany, I could go to my home country and get 3 lessons. Is there any rule about where to take lessons in order to deduct them?

 

No, you can do the course for Autodesk's 3ds Max anywhere you want.

Just take care that you get a proper invoice and that you pay that invoice by bank transfer from your German account.

 

You would normally also get to deduct the travel costs there, and the hotel costs, but if you take that course in your home town, the Finanzamt will suspect that you just want to claim for a trip home.

So if you do the course in your home town, they will only allow you to claim for the part of the travel costs that pertain to the course days. For example, if you spend 2 weeks in your home town, and the course only takes 5 days, then they will only allow you claim for 5/14 of the travel costs.

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Dear PandaMunich,

 

That was a great answer with the quotes, thank you very very much for that! ^_^

 

And I will definitelly pay the course from my bank account, that I did not know and really good that you pointed out, probably saved me from a future problem.

 

I wish you a perfect weekend!

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