Tax question - Full time self-employed and a student. Can I claim for student fees?

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Hi all – new year, so, alas, time to think about my tax return again. I have a hopefully fairly straightforward question, and wondered if anyone could help out.

The question is - can I offset university tuition fees against my German taxes?

To give more information - I work full time as a freelance graphic designer here in Germany. I’m doing my first degree part-time with the Open University in the UK (started before I moved over here), for which I pay about £3500 a year in tuition fees. It’s an English Literature degree, so not really associated with my work. I’ve read some information on the internet about this, and seem to think it’s possible to put the tuition fees down as a deductible - but it’s unclear as to whether the degree has to have a connection with my work or not.

Thanks very much in advance.

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3 minutes ago, PandaMunich said:

@scook17

Of course it is deductible, as Sonderausgaben, up to 6,000€ per year: https://www-finanztip-de.translate.goog/ausbildungskosten/?_x_tr_sl=de&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-GB

Sonderausgaben only have an effect if somebody has income that year, which smallfrei has.

 

Panda,

Yes, you are of course correct.

https://germantaxes.de/first-degree-second-degree/

The finantip article is also very interesting to read.

 

I remember looking into this a while back and coming to the conclusion first degrees are 'effectively' non deductible, but I had in mind a child studying for the first time at university. Sorry I mixed this up. Thanks for the correction.

 

As the finanztip article says, the expenses can be claimed, but there is often no income on which tax would be due to offset this against. Neither can it be offset against future or past tax paid. Seems very unfair to students IMHO. Whilst most study in German for almost zero, costs in the UK and especially the USA are massive. You are (hopefully!) investing in a much better future income, and will likely have to repay debt for years to come.

 

But if you are a freelancer and doing a part time degree with the Open University, then you have income to claim it against. I was able to claim my Masters course at the OU, but that was actually relevant to my career.

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Smallfrei,

One point which I came across this evening, which may be relevant is this article

https://www.finanztip.de/unterhalt-volljaehrige-kinder/

 

Parents have to support or pay maintenance for adult children who study, even up to PHD time frame, so this largely depends on your own age.

Such payments are (mostly) deductible against the parents income, so save them 14% to 44% depending on the parents income level.

The required maintenance amount is not in itself high enough for the student to pay tax on, if this is the only source of income.

However, if deductible for the parents, and they are quite well off, this might be a better route than support in other forms.

 

However, I could not figure out how being a part time or full time student affected this.

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Thanks for that Scook - I'm 46, so I think I might be a tiny bit old for that to apply (unfortunately!) :) 

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