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Tax deduction for school fees and extra tuition costs

During the coronavirus pandemic, the temporary suspension of in-class teaching at many schools has given rise to considerable gaps in knowledge for many pupils. The costs for extra tuition may not normally be deducted in order to reduce the tax liability because such costs are deemed to already be covered by the child benefit or the child allowance. Even if the tutor comes to the home, nevertheless, this service cannot be deducted against tax as a household-related service.

An allowable deduction is likewise generally excluded. There is however one exception. If children have to change schools because their parents have to move for professional reasons and if the children fail to keep up with the curriculum in their new classes then the costs for extra tuition would be deemed to be allowable deductions. The amount would depend on the date of the move. If the move occurred between 1.3. and 1.6.2020 then it would be possible to deduct up to €2,066 per child. If the move took place after 1.6.2020 then a maximum of €1,146 would be deductible because the German Federal Moving Costs Act has been fundamentally reformed. As of 1.4.2021, the deductible amount has been €1,160. It is important to keep all documents and receipts.

Furthermore, since 2007, it has been possible to claim for private school fees as special expenses in your tax returns. It does not matter here who the school service provider is. These could be educational facilities operated by a church or an independent entity, however, the private school and the school or vocational qualifications have to be state-approved. In the case of a private Gymnasium [a type of German secondary school], the subject combination for a student in years 11 to 13 has to be consistent with combinations that have been approved by the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs. 

Please note: If the parents are entitled to child benefit then it would be possible to claim a tax deduction for 30% of teaching-related costs, up to a maximum of €5,000, per child and year. The tax benefit will accrue to the parent who bears the costs.

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