Is studying tax deductible in old age?

Who makes a decent degree, usually receives a tax benefit. Exception: studying in old age. Pensioners with late academic aspirations are not expected to be favored by the Treasury. In any case, not fundamentally, so an up-to-date judgment.

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Tax bonus also when studying in old age?

With retirement, some retirees discover their desire to study. They usually have a lot of time available and can broaden their horizons. And the resulting costs can usually be deducted for tax purposes. This was what a doctor, born in 1943, had imagined when he enrolled in a university after his active career. But he was wrong, as now the Schleswig-Holstein Financial Court has decided (AZ 4 K 41/16).

With the retirement to the university

The case: A physician worked until the end of October 2006 and then received a retirement pension. At the end of his professional career, he enrolled in an academy for the bachelor or master's degree in drama.

Like other students, he wanted to deduct expenses incurred as a result of his studies as anticipated income-related expenses and special expenses. Because his application was dismissed, he went to court. There he failed for fundamental reasons.

Tax deduction – only for professional benefit

The judges made it clear that a course of study must be in a purchase-related causation context, so that the costs can be deducted for tax purposes. In other words, those who seek an academic degree do so in preparation for or qualification for their future profession. The court did not rule that out in this particular case because the plaintiff had only expressed a private interest in studying at an old age. He and his wife were attracted primarily by the study site and its cultural scene.

Private interest is not enough

However, that was not enough for a purchase-related cause-and-effect relationship. Thus, the retired student would have been able to use his degree after ten years at the earliest. In addition, the man was economically so well positioned that it was based on a purely private motivation for his studies in old age.

Anyone wishing to deduct the corresponding costs for tax purposes must therefore make a professional case credible.

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BAföG prerequisites: Who gets the training support?

Under certain circumstances, the BAföG provides financial support through state subsidies during a degree course. But who is the education support at all and to what conditions is it linked?

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Who can apply for BAföG?

Anyone who could not land a lucrative side job at the latest from the middle of a semester, the question: How should I finance my studies? About one in four students received benefits under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) in 2016 and received an average of 484 euros per month. As a rule, any German student who has reached the age of 30 at the beginning of his / her studies – or at the age of 35 for Master's degree programs – can not apply to BAföG. Foreign students who have a residence perspective in Germany may also be eligible. In addition, the student must prove his / her aptitude on a regular basis through achievements that prove the success of the study.

Basically, a first full-time study is eligible. This generally applies to second chance education and training. Master's programs are also eligible if they build on a bachelor's degree program. However, support for supplementary, additional and secondary education is only granted in exceptional cases.

Amount and duration of training support

Both the assets and income of the student and the income of the parents are taken into account when calculating the BAföG. As a result, the amount of BAföG payments varies from case to case. In principle, the student's income and assets are not credited to the BAföG payments up to a maximum of € 5,416 in the approval period or € 7,500 (asset-free allowance).

The BAföG regular demand rate is 649 euros per month. It should cover the basic needs of the student and the costs of accommodation at the place of study. Parents-independent BAföG can apply for who has been self-financing for five years after the age of 18 or has worked for three years after completing a three-year apprenticeship and thus has independently financed itself.

The maximum duration for BAföG payments depends on the standard period of study of the respective subject. The period is not extended by periods during the studies in which the student did not receive BAföG. By illness, the activity in a university committee or during the care and education of a child, however, the granting period may be extended.

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International BAföG apply: who gets it?

The reasons for applying for a BAföG abroad are manifold: Mostly a semester abroad, but also a longer study visit, an internship or a thesis in another country can be supported in this way. The application for a foreign BAföG can also be worthwhile for students who do not receive any training support in Germany.

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Who can apply for International BAföG?

The requirements for foreign BAföG are similar to those for the promotion of students in Germany. So who is supported in Germany under the Federal Training Promotion Act (BAföG), has a good chance of foreign funding. As a rule, you must be resident in Germany or have a special connection to the country – for example, because you spent your schooling in Germany. The training institution abroad must be comparable to German institutions. This refers to the entry requirements and the type of training. You also need to spend at least six months or one semester abroad. An internship abroad must take at least twelve weeks and be prescribed as part of your studies so that you can apply for international BAföG.

Anyone who does not receive a BAföG due to their parents' too high income can still apply for funding for their stay abroad. The funding amounts are higher for the foreign countries, so that a support can be there.

Auslands-BAföG: Request in time

It may take longer to work on the BAföG abroad, so you should submit the application at least six months before your stay abroad. Responsible is not the regular BAföG office: Where you have to submit the application for foreign BAföG, depends on the destination country. So find out which office you need to contact. The quickest application is when all documents are submitted in their entirety.

Amount and duration of foreign promotion

The specific sum of the foreign BAföG is similar to that in Germany. In addition, tuition fees up to an amount of 4,600 euros per year will be covered. For the round trip there is a flat rate of 250 Euro (in Europe) or 500 Euro (outside Europe) per trip. Those who have a contributory health insurance can also receive a subsidy for this. For some countries outside Europe, there are also foreign surcharges.

The funding period is usually a maximum of one year. However, anyone who studies in the EU or in Switzerland can also be supported for longer. It is important that the maximum funding period is not exceeded. It corresponds to the standard study period.

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Working time fraud: When warnings or termination threaten

Working time fraud can be a criminal offense if committed intentionally. In addition, the employer is in many cases entitled to termination if the breach of trust comes out. Sometimes, however, a prior warning is necessary.

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Working time fraud: what is meant by this?

An employee who intentionally enters incorrect times in the timekeeping and thus works less than specified commits working hours fraud. The employment contract regulates to which work performance the employee is obligated and how many hours the weekly or monthly working time covers. Those who do not fulfill this obligation and disguise this by false information, cheat the employer and may – depending on the seriousness of the offense – be prosecuted for fraud according to § 263 of the Criminal Code (StGB).

Working time fraud: termination or warning?

But also labor law consequences threaten. If an employee can prove his / her job time fraud without any doubt and the company has suffered considerable damage as a result, the employer can terminate the termination without notice according to § 626 German Civil Code (BGB). However, if it is an isolated case and the employee is reasonable, the warning may be sufficient and a termination without notice be ineffective. The Landesarbeitsgericht Berlin-Brandenburg, for example, has decided in the case of a dismissed because of working time fraud wife, that a previous warning would have been necessary (AZ 10 Sa 2272/11). The judges evaluated in favor of the employee, among other things, that she had been employed in the company for 20 years and was not noticed negatively until the offense. In addition, the employer did not suffer any damage, since the woman has nevertheless done all the tasks.

Employee must be heard

Since a termination without notice is a hard labor law consequence, the employer must first give the employee the suspicion of working hours fraud the opportunity to express themselves in a fair hearing to the allegations. This was also decided by the LAG Berlin-Brandenburg in the case of the dismissed employee. However, according to a later decision of the Federal Labor Court, the employer is not obliged to inform the employee of the topic of the conversation if he invites him to such a hearing before a suspicion is dismissed (AZ 6 AZR 845/13).

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Vacation Planning: May approved vacation be canceled?

If vacation plans are fixed but canceled leave is canceled, it is very uncomfortable for the employee. But approved vacation is basically fixed. A company can only change the vacation planning afterwards in rare exceptional cases. It also requires the consent of the employee concerned.

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Move approved vacation is not allowed

It is true that every company has the right to tailor their employees' travel plans so that their operations are minimized. However, in principle, the law states that the company must take into account the holiday wishes of the staff. A once given commitment must therefore be complied with. This also applies to the subsequent determination that the time is not right. Accordingly, case law raises the bar when it is allowed to postpone or cancel approved holidays.

Withdrawal of the commitment only for important reasons

For example, it is not sufficient if the employee concerned is needed to temporarily cushion temporary peaks in order to handle a high seasonal workload. To postpone or cancel the holiday needs a weighty exception. For example, the consequence of a natural disaster or a business crisis that threatens our existence, which the employee could virtually solve as the only one. The unilateral cancellation of the vacation planning is only valid if the employer agrees with the employee by mutual agreement. It must state very clearly that approved leave is canceled and the employee agrees.

Ongoing holidays may be terminated

Even more difficult is the change in vacation planning, when the employee has already started his vacation and the company wants to call him back from the travel destination. From a legal point of view, it is completely inadmissible if the approved holiday is canceled or the holiday plan is otherwise changed. A clause in the employment contract, which requires the employee in an emergency leave cancellation, according to the case law of the Federal Labor Court on a regular basis ineffective (AZ 9 AZR 404/99). An exception also creates a clear agreement. If the employee is ready to return, the company has to bear all costs incurred – in case of doubt for the entire family.

In spite of unauthorized withdrawal travel do not compete

Incidentally, such a reimbursement also applies if the vacation planning is postponed and the employee incurs additional costs as a result. Moving a hotel booking from the off-season to the more expensive peak season would be a fitting example in which the company has to bear the difference. So, if approved leave is canceled or the employee is supposed to postpone leave, that is usually inadmissible. However, it should be noted that an employee may not simply ignore an unlawful withdrawal. If he still goes on vacation, he violates his employment contract and can get a warning or even notice. Before being prevented by a temporary injunction of the Labor Court, a joint discussion is recommended for the amicable clarification of the situation.

Here you will find more information on the subject: vacation entitlement

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Vacation entitlement and maternity protection: Your rights as an employee

Before the birth of a child, a working expectant mother has much to plan and organize. Your holiday entitlement before and after maternity leave is also an important topic. Does she have to take all the holiday she is entitled to before starting maternity leave? And what happens to it, if she can not – or wants to?

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Legislature protects pregnant women

  Legislation protects pregnant women with the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) in a special way – including termination due to pregnancy, health hazards and financial losses.

In addition, the law regulates the so-called maternity periods. Therefore expectant mothers may stay at home six weeks before the expected date of birth, unless they want to work explicitly. After the birth, however , they usually have to stay away for eight weeks or so; There is a maternity protection prohibition on employment – this is mandatory in the law.

Holiday entitlement remains in maternity protection

During maternity leave, women are not available to their employer. Do you still earn vacation entitlements? This question of leave entitlement during maternity leave is regulated by §24 MuSchG. According to this, "downtime due to an employment ban is considered as employment time".

In plain language, this simply means: Even for the period of maternity protection, you are proportionally on vacation. The number of vacation days can be easily calculated: Per month maternity you earn the right to 1/12 of your annual leave. With 30 leave days per year, this results in a holiday entitlement of 2.5 days per month.

Remaining leave, which was not taken before the start of maternity leave, remains with the young mother. According to the law, even after the following year, after returning to work, she has time to take the remaining days off – this is also stipulated in §24 MuSchG.

Example: You will be taking maternity leave at the end of June 2019. At the time you are still 15 days left for this year. If you were to work again after the eight-week maternity leave period, you could take those 15 days until the end of 2020.

© Antonioguillem

Parental leave: leave entitlement from maternity leave is retained

The leave entitlement from the maternity protection is also retained if the young mother goes directly into parental leave after the eight-week maternity leave – possibly even over several years.

Example: After the maternity leave you take a two-year parental leave. Instead of the fall of 2019, as in the example above, you will not resume work until autumn 2021. The 15 days rest leave from 2019 you can take until the end of 2022.

Actually, the Federal Holiday Act stipulates that annual leave must be granted and taken in the current year ; Unless the employment contract contains deviating regulations. Only exceptionally – for example, in case of prolonged illness of the employee – holidays may be transferred on request in the next calendar year (§ 7 paragraph 3 Federal Holiday Act).

However, this provision is suspended by the Maternity Protection Act; it gives young mothers a special position. Therefore, an employer can not rely on the Federal Holiday Law in this case.

Vacation entitlement from parental leave may be reduced

During maternity leave, a working woman acquires, therefore, unrestricted vacation entitlements, which the employer must grant. It looks different during parental leave. During this time the employment relationship is suspended and the employer is allowed to reduce holidays. Mind you may – he does not have to. Parental leave entitlement is regulated by the law on parental allowance and parental leave (BEEG) in §17 (1).


  • Even during the maternity protection periods, the expectant or young mother acquires vacation entitlements in the same amount as if she were working.
  • Remaining leave incurred before the maternity leave and not yet taken remains intact during the period of grace and possibly also during parental leave.
  • Remaining leave can be taken until the end of the following year after returning to work.
  • The Federal Holiday Act is overridden in this regard by the Maternity Protection Act.

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Part-time leave entitlement: What applies to employees?

If you want to work shorter, you can reduce your workload. But how does the vacation entitlement change with part-time? Does less work mean less free days? Answer: It depends.

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Part time is required

Full-time employment is not practical or possible for every worker. An alternative can then be a part-time job. In such a case, the person concerned reduces his working time. This happens more often. For example, statistics from the Employment Agency show that in 2017 a total of 32.2 million people were employed by social insurance. Nine million of these were part-time. In 2007, that amounted to 5.1 million.

That says the federal leave law

Of course, this trend also raises the question of vacation entitlement for part-time work. He can, but must not be less compared to full time. What makes the difference, shows a look at the Federal Holiday Act (BUrlG) . Depending on the number of working days per week, it requires a minimum of paid leave for employees. It basically starts from a six-day week. This results in a claim of 24 leave days per year according to BUrlG. More usual, however, is the five-day week, which corresponds to 20 days of vacation.

As I said, this is the permissible lower limit. Employers can not afford less vacation days. More can be agreed in collective agreements, for example.

It depends on the working days

Important is the explicit reference to the working days . Working hours, on the other hand, play no role in the Federal Holiday Law. What does that mean in concrete terms?

For example, you halve your weekly working hours, but continue to do so at the previously agreed full-time number of five days as an example. In this case, nothing changes in your holiday entitlement – despite part-time! So if you have had 20 or more days vacation so far, then it stays that way.

Calculate holiday entitlement in part-time

However, if you reduce the number of working days, the holiday entitlement will be reduced. How much can be calculated with the following general formula :

Days of vacation (full time) divided by the usual number of full-time work days in the company multiplied by the number of part-time working days of the employee.

Here is an example: Your holiday entitlement in full time is 26 days. Your company works on five days a week. You want to reduce your working time to three days in the future. Then the part-time job reduces the vacation entitlement to 15.6 days (26 ÷ 5 · 3 = 15.6). Rounding up this gives 16 days a year.

Holiday entitlement for changes in the current year

However, this bill only works if the part-time starts on January 1st. If you change from full-time to part-time employment later in the year , it will no longer apply. Assuming that the full-time lasts from the beginning of the year to April (four months) and the part-time starts on the first of May (eight months), then the calculation under the above conditions looks like this:

Partial leave entitlement from full-time

26 (full-time vacation days per year) ÷ 12 (months per year) · 4 (months full-time) = 8.6 (proportion of vacation days)

Partial leave entitlement from part-time work

16 (part-time leave days per year) ÷ 12 (months per year) · 8 (months part-time) = 10.6 (proportion of days off)

This adds up to a rounded holiday entitlement of 19 days in the year in which the change from full-time to part-time takes place (8.6 + 10.6 = 19.2).


  • The statutory holiday entitlement is based on the number of weekly working days.
  • If you work part-time, you may spend as many days as a full-time employee – if you work on as many days.
  • Part-time leave entitlement can be calculated using a formula.

Here you will find more information on the subject: vacation entitlement

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Vacation entitlement for pregnancy: what should be considered?

The leave entitlement remains unaffected even during pregnancy, because according to Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) expectant mothers from their pregnancy should not be disadvantaged. That's why pregnant women are allowed to spend the rest of their holidays years later.

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How many vacation days during pregnancy?

If you are employed full-time, you are entitled to at least 24 days leave under the Federal Holiday Law. Of course, you can also have more work days agreed by contract. Since absence during maternity leave does not count as a period of absence, this does not diminish the entitlement to leave. So you have just as much vacation available as if you had not gotten pregnant.

When does the holiday have to be consumed during pregnancy?

Normally, employees must use their holidays within the calendar year in which the leave entitlement arises. Unused days expire and may be taken only in exceptional cases until 31 March of the following year.

In other words, the leave entitlement for pregnancy is regulated, because six weeks before and at least eight weeks after childbirth mothers are not allowed to work anyway – they have a statutory employment ban. This period of maternity leave is often directly followed by parental leave, which can take up to three years. So little opportunity to claim the leave.

Therefore, § 17 MuSchG regulates that the other leave days before the pregnancy may also be taken after maternity leave or after parental leave. That does not have to be directly afterwards. You have time until the end of the year following the year you returned to work.

An example to clarify: Ms. K. went to maternity leave on 1 November 2015, but still had five days remaining vacation for the year. After childbirth and maternity leave, she took parental leave for one year and returned to the office on February 1, 2017. She can claim her five holidays from 2015 until the end of 2018.

Here you will find more information on the subject: vacation entitlement

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Holiday entitlement at retirement: This is how it is regulated

The remaining holiday entitlement seems to be not so important shortly before retirement – after all, there will soon be plenty of free time. It is well worth planning and enjoying some benefits.

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Date of retirement determines the holiday entitlement

Important for the amount of the vacation entitlement is above all the date of retirement:

  • Is the last working day on June 30 or earlier, there is a pro rata leave entitlement: At retirement in January one twelfth of annual leave, in February, two twelfths in March three twelfths and so on. Half days are rounded up.
  • Is the last working day in the second half of the year (July 1 or later), are entitled to full annual leave.
  • Prerequisite: The employment relationship has existed for more than six months – otherwise it will always be pieced together. The legal basis is § 5 Federal Holiday Act (BUrlG) .
  • If the employer pays vacation pay, also insists claim to the same extent as on holidays. Christmas bonus, however, falls outside this scheme, even if the retirement is in the second half.

From sickness to retirement: Holidays can be forfeited

Even sick leave workers get vacation entitlements. With a long-lasting illness, however, it is difficult to take these vacation days. An unlimited accumulation for later is not possible: Vacation entitlements expire after 15 months at the latest – always on the 31st of March. This regulation applies to normal working life as well as to cases of temporary disability pension and age-related retirement.

What can disabled people do just before retirement? If an employment relationship is terminated – and this is the case at retirement – the employee is entitled to compensation for the leave ; In other words, the holidays that have not been taken will be paid out. This regulation is in § 7 BUrlG. Attention: The compensation claim expires after 15 months! Anyone who is ill for a long time must ask their employer to pay in between and not wait until they retire.

The basis for this regulation is a judgment of the Federal Labor Court (BAG), which in turn is based on the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) (AZ 9 AZR 353/10).

Darren Baker, Fotolia

Timing: Planning well to get more out of it

Retirement rarely occurs spontaneously, so there is usually enough time in advance to worry about the end of working life. A common solution: the rest of the holidays are taken at the end of the job , so that retirement is felt to start a few weeks earlier. With timely planning, this should not be a big problem from the employer side. The annual holiday planning is also a good time to clarify any misunderstandings, as far as the amount of vacation entitlement is concerned.

Another consideration: Anyone who still works in July is entitled to the full annual leave. If the retirement is in May or June, it may be worthwhile to postpone it for a few weeks and to benefit from additional days off and vacation pay.

Details on leave entitlements for retirement in employment and collective agreements

As so often, agreements can be made in individual contracts that deviate from the legal rule . So it may be, for example, that the employment contract is an immediate retirement Acquisition reduction or the denomination of the leave also in the second half of the year in twelfths provides. The latter, however, is only permitted for holidays that exceed the legal minimum leave.

Collective bargaining agreements also often include special rules on holidays and pensions – for example, in the public service of the Confederation (TVöD) and the Länder (TV-L), denominations are standard in the second half of the year as well.

Therefore, take a look at all important contracts before you confront your former employer with claims – this applies to the vacation entitlement to retirement as well as other disputes in the job.


  • Vacation entitlements also exist in the year of retirement.
  • he number of days depends on the date of retirement. Employment also sometimes plays a role.
  • Residual leave from previous years may expire if you are sick or unable to work for a long time before retirement.
  • Labor and collective agreements may contain special rules.

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Overtime supplement: Is there a basic claim?

The overtime supplement is not simply the payment of overtime worked, but describes an additional compensation that will be added to the normal hourly wage if you as an employee work overtime.

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What is the compensation for overtime?

Basically, your employer has to pay you overtime according to your normal hourly wage or provide you with a timely compensation. However, there is no legal basis that allows overtime to be paid higher. However, in your employment contract or in the industry's collective agreement, the employer may be required to pay an overtime supplement.

The actual amount of the overtime supplement is very different, since the additional allowance is usually between 15 and 40 percent of the normal hourly wage. Under certain conditions, overtime pay may even be tax-exempt or at least tax-deductible. Incidentally, executives and persons with gross incomes of more than € 76,200 (West) and € 68,400 (East) are not entitled to compensation for their overtime, since in these positions target achievement is the yardstick of pay rather than working time.

Again and again the question arises whether surcharges can be combined; So, if you're working overtime on Sundays, you'll get both the Sunday job and the overtime surcharge. This depends very much on the wording in the tariff or employment contract. Check the contracts carefully to know your claims.

Who has to work overtime?

Basically, nobody has to work more than contractually agreed. That means you can refuse overtime. An exception are unpredictable bottlenecks in the enterprise, for example by strike. Then your employer may oblige you to work overtime. Teenagers, breastfeeding and expectant mothers, however, are particularly protected and may only work overtime in the most extreme emergency.

To a certain extent, overtime may also be specified in the employment contract, for example, with terms such as "overtime are not paid separately, but are paid with the salary, as long as they do not exceed a period of three hours per week or ten hours per calendar month." However, a general exclusion of overtime pay is legally ineffective.

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