It pays to study...

With economic recovery in sight, and a booming jobs market, now might be a good time to retrain for that next career or job goal.

Bear in mind, though, that the rules for deducting study costs are changing next year. This means you might want to take a decision about how you pay for future courses right now, especially if you have already started a multi-year course this autumn.

For the 2021 tax year, if you pay out more than €250 in study costs related to a job, these can be deducted against income or future income. 

There are a few rules for the study costs deduction: you must not have the right to grants, the study must be related to your career or future career, and you can only deduct ‘necessary’ costs such as college fees, lesson costs or exam payments. 

Although you can deduct money for vital equipment such as books or specific software, items such as laptops, tablets or printers are specifically excluded and you cannot claim for a study space or travel costs either. Any interest you pay on study debts, the price of field trips and normal living costs (like your home, food and clothes) are also not deductible.

Expats should note that even if you are legally obliged to do the ‘inburgeringcursus’ and civic integration exams in order to gain or prolong your residency in the Netherlands, the costs of this course are not deductible. Study costs for your children do not qualify either, and there is a maximum of €15,000 per year (unless you are under 30 and are still in your ‘standard student period’).

However, from next year, this entire benefit will be scrapped; instead, you can request a subsidy for study costs (the STAP) from March 1, 2022. This will be a maximum of €1,000 per year and aims to encourage people to improve their job prospects: the course provider also needs to be officially registered and recognised.

Blue Umbrella experts expect that the subsidy will work something like DUO allowances, based on your income levels, but the fine detail is not yet clear. If you want to claim study costs under the current system, and your study costs are significant, it may make sense to pay for a longer-term course in 2021 and claim the deduction now!

For advice on your personal situation, contact Blue Umbrella via