No deduction for educational expenses after 1 January 2022!

Are you a resident taxpayer of the Netherlands (or a partial non-resident taxpayer) and do you pay tuition fees? In 2021 it is still possible to deduct your educational expenses in your Dutch personal income tax return. As from 1 January 2022 this tax deduction facility is abolished.

Conditions to deduct educational expenses

It is possible to deduct educational expenses provided that some conditions are met:

  • you are not entitled to a student grant
  • the study is for your (future) profession (e.g. to get a (better) position on the Dutch labor market)
  • the expenses have been paid after you registered as a resident taxpayer of the Netherlands
  • you paid for the expenses yourself or by taking out a loan

Deductible expenses

Only necessary expenses can be deducted in the tax return, such as

  • tuition fees
  • course or examination fees
  • books and other literature necessary for the education
  • other required material

Not deductible are the following expenses:

  • expenses for your own life support, such as housing, food and clothes
  • costs of a laptop, computer or tablet
  • expenses for your study room
  • travel expenses
  • expenses for certain courses such as a Dutch language course or a hobby

There is a threshold of € 250, so the first € 250 are not deductible. Besides this, only expenses for yourself and/or your fiscal partner are deductible. It is not possible to deduct educational expenses for your children.

Can you deduct educational expenses if you do not have any taxable income?

Yes, you can. It is possible to deduct your expenses even if you do not have any taxable income. As you will have to deduct the expenses in the year in which the costs are made, you will have to file a tax return for that year to secure the deduction. This may result in a negative income. The negative income can be offset against positive income in future tax years, normally resulting in a tax refund in the year in which you can offset the negative income.

What are the possibilities after 1 January 2022?

After 1 January 2022 it is not possible to claim a deduction for educational expenses in your tax return anymore. Instead you can apply for a ‘STAP-budget’, a budget to stimulate your labor position. The maximum budget is € 1,000 per taxpayer per year.

What is in it for you?

If you follow a study in the year 2021/2022 and you are due a tuition fee of € 3,500, you are normally allowed to pay the total fee at once or in equal installments, say € 1,750 in the year 2021 and € 1,750 in the year 2022. If you pay the entire fee in the year 2021, you are able to deduct all expenses of € 3,500 in your 2021 tax return. This will lead to a deduction of € 3,250 after the threshold of € 250. With a tax rate of 37,05%, your tax benefit is € 1,204.

If you pay the tuition fee in installments, you can deduct € 1,500 in your 2021 tax return and nothing in your 2022 tax return resulting in a tax benefit of € 556. You are also not entitled to a STAP-allowance in 2022 as you already started your study in 2021.

Whether the deduction leads to an actual tax refund depends on your income in 2021 and the wage tax withheld. If you have small student jobs, the deduction may not lead to a refund of taxes.

Can you still claim educational expenses paid in previous years?

Yes, that is possible! If you had educational expenses in previous tax years and you did not file a tax return to claim the expenses, you can still file a tax return for the year in which you paid the costs. In 2021 this can be done for the years 2016 up to and including 2020 as tax returns have to be filed within 5 years after the end of the tax year.

Need help with the preparation and filing of your tax return to claim the educational expenses? Contact us for assistance.

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