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Colleagues at work mentioned that semester fees for the Master studies can be declared for the tax return as for the position that we have at work, having a Master degree is mandatory.

Can someone confirm whether this is the case for Germany? If yes, then how can the fees be presented, more specifically in which section of the tax return forms they should be enlisted.

Some discussions where people claim to have been able to receive refunds for studies are:

https://lifeinduesseldorf.com/deductible-work-expenses/

https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/310766-can-uni-tuition-fees-be-claimed-in-tax-returns/

https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/156815-income-tax-return-for-mba-tuition-fee/

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Disclaimer: I am not a tax consultant, so I can not provide any personal tax advise. So this is a layman interpretation which might not be factually accurate or which glosses over details which might be relevant in your personal case. If you want proper tax advise, please consult a licensed tax consultant.

Various German sources agree that you can deduct semester fees for your first college education ("Erststudium") as "Sonderkosten" (up to 6000 € per year) and for any following education ("Zweitstudium") as "Werbekosten" (no limit).

However, this is not a complete refund, it is a tax deduction. Tax deduction means that the money is deducted from the annual income you need to pay income tax for before they calculate how much tax you need to pay. So the upper limit of the percentage of how much money you get back from a deduction is your income tax percentage.

Further, most full-time students have no or very little taxable income anyway. Any income below the "Grundfreibetrag" limit isn't taxed, and BAföG income isn't taxed either (EStG §3 2a). That means if you have an income below 9168 € (9408 € from 2020 and onwards) you don't pay income tax anyway, so you don't benefit from any tax deductions you can declare.

  • But as described here, you can carry forward your losses under certain circumstances. – glglgl May 20 at 21:05

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