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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