Tax return: Students receive an average of 3,000 euros back
Wednesday, 24.08.16, written by Cora Christine Döhn
The universities and colleges soon open their doors again for students. The freshman students often start their studies with empty pockets, as they spend a lot of money on applications, moving, the new laptop and books. However, all these expenses can be recouped to students through the tax return. On average, they receive about 3,000 euros from the state reimbursed.
David Czaniecki, Jalyna Schröder and Daniel Hanemann are the founders of studentensteuererklärung.de
Many students are currently waiting for admission to study. If you already have a commitment, you may already be looking for a shared flat at the place of study, prepare the move and buy the first textbooks. That costs quite some money. But any costs incurred before and during the course of study can tax students . This is true even if they do not pay any money to the Treasury. How this works and what students have to do, explains Daniel Hanemann of students tax declaration.de in an interview.
How can students deduct money from tax without paying taxes?
Daniel Hanemann: Students can deduct their study costs from the tax office via an annual tax return. On the one hand, this is possible if you have already paid taxes, for example on a side job. On the other hand, it works even if they did not have any tax payments .
If students have already paid taxes on a job, the expenses for studying lead to a tax refund, usually in full . If no taxes have been paid in the respective year , the tax office nevertheless takes note of the expenses for studying and registers the loss. This is called loss carryforward. The tax office remembers the expenses for studying until the student earns taxable income. Then the losses are tax deducted and the student receives a tax refund or, in the case of self-employment, has to pay significantly less taxes. This loss carry-forward reduces the taxable income on the first “normal” tax return , so that the tax base is much lower.
An example: Max Mustermann spent 15,000 euros on his semester abroad. That’s his loss carryforward . When he starts working, he earns 45,000 euros in his first year of work. As usual, he pays taxes monthly. In the tax return, he indicates the loss carryforward. His actual taxable income is thus reduced to 30,000 euros . For the sake of simplicity, we assume a wage tax rate of 33 percent. In this case, Max has paid around 5,000 euros too many taxes and gets them back with the first tax refund.
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What expenses can students indicate in the tax return?
Daniel Hanemann: All expenses that are clearly raised for study purposes can be taxed as so-called income-related expenses. Which includes:
- tuition fees
- Editions for technical literature
- work equipment
- Travel costs to the university and library
- Spending for a semester abroad
In addition , students can take advantage of many packages , they do not even need bills or other receipts. For telephone and internet, the flat rate is 20 euros per month, for each application at 8.50 euros, for each day internship there is a food allowance of 24 euros or even for the move to the university city 730 euros (since 2015). The travel allowance of 30 cents per kilometer for trips to the university or part-time job should also not be forgotten by students in their tax return.
Indicate the loss carried forward in the tax return correctly:
The first tax return is actually quite simple. The Tax Guide will help you step through all forms so you do not forget important items or enter in the wrong column. For the loss carryforward, you have to put a check mark in row 2 in the jacket sheet.
Is a tax return for students always voluntary?
Daniel Hanemann: No. Anyone who earns more than € 8,652 (basic allowance for 2016) a year and therefore owes taxes to the state is obliged to file a tax return. This is often the case with self-employed and freelancers, for example . But that does not mean that taxes have to be paid as well. By specifying study costs, for example, the taxable income can be significantly reduced. Voluntary is the levy whenever students earn less than the basic allowance or more tax was paid than necessary.
Is a tax return worthwhile for students anyway? (How much money can students on average get back from the Treasury?)
Daniel Hanemann: A tax return is almost always worthwhile for students. On average, students who report their tuition costs as losses annually receive a tax reimbursement of over € 3,000 as soon as they enter a profession. If you have spent a semester abroad, many internships or excursions during your studies, the reimbursement can be much higher. This is also the case when studying at an expensive private university or studying abroad .
Even for graduates, it is possible to deduct the costs of studying in retrospect from the tax. Are there deadlines to be respected here?
Daniel Hanemann: Currently, students can submit tax returns up to seven years retroactively , ie up to and including 2009. The prerequisite for this is that no statements have been submitted for the corresponding years. Because only one single declaration can be submitted per year. Presumably, the seven-year period will be shortened to four years in 2017.
Thank you for the interview, Mr. Hanemann!
Daniel Hanemann is an expert in student tax returns. On the platform www.studentensteuererklaerung.de he gives students and graduates important information on how to reimburse their study costs.