In the Dutch tax system, we have the possibility to deduct the study costs you paid for your (future) profession in your income tax return. As a result, you pay less tax or receive a refund from the tax office.
As of 2022, the regulation changes. The study costs are no longer deductible in your income tax return. Instead, you can file a request for a STAP-budget of € 1.000 max. for a study you start or a new study year. STAP stands for incentive labor market position (or in Dutch: Stimulans Arbeidsmarkt Positie).

Until 2021:

The study costs you paid yourself are deductible in your income tax return. Students who are entitled to study finance or a travelcard from DUO, are exempted for deduction. Grants, reimbursements and allowances received are set off against the deductible costs.
Also, for those who migrated, only the study costs paid in the Dutch period of the year are deductible.
You can deduct the college fee and the costs of obligated study books and material. Costs are deductible in the year they are paid and there is a threshold of € 250 and a maximum of € 15.000.
Note, the costs for courses as Dutch language, integration or hobby are not deductible.

What is in it for you?

Let’s say, you pay a tuition fee for a course in 2021 of € 4.000. You are allowed to pay the total fee in September 2021 or in installments during the course thus paying € 2.000 in 2021 and € 2.000 in 2022.
When you pay the total fee in 2021, you can deduct € 3.750 in your tax return 2021 and your tax benefit can be up to € 1 391 (tax rate 37,10%) depending on your income.
When you pay in installments, in your tax return 2021 you can deduct € 1.750 (€ 2.000-€ 250).

The amount you pay in 2022 is not deductible in your income tax return and as you already started the course you can not apply for a STAP-allowance in 2022 for this course.
As a result of paying in installments over two years the tax benefit reduces to max € 650 (tax rate 37,10%).

Whether the deduction leads to an actual tax refund in 2021 depends on your income in 2021 and the wage tax withheld. If you have small students jobs, it is possible there will be no refund. When you had little to no income, the remaining deductible amount can be carried forward to the next tax year.

Note, when you did not file a tax return in previous years and had study costs in 2016-2020, you can still file the tax returns for those years.

If you would like to know more about deductible study costs or filing your tax return, please contact our advisors at tax@aame.nl or + 31 (0)15 215 88 15.

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