Tax relief for third-level fees

Introduction

You may be able to claim tax relief on tuition fees paid for approved:

  • Undergraduate courses
  • Postgraduate courses
  • Information technology (IT) and foreign language courses.

Lists of courses and colleges approved for relief each year are published on the Revenue website.

You can claim tax relief as long as you have actually paid the fees, either on your own behalf or on behalf of another person.

You cannot claim tax relief on:

  • Examination or administration fees
  • Any part of the tuition fees that is met directly or indirectly by a grant, a scholarship or otherwise, e.g. where fees are reimbursed by an employer.

Read more about tuition fees and the Student Contribution.

Payments that qualify for tax relief

Tax year 2011 onwards

The maximum amount of fees (including the Student Contribution) that can qualify for tax relief is €7,000 per person per course.

Full-time student: There is no tax relief on the first €3,000 spent on tuition fees (including the Student Contribution) for the 2015/2016 academic year.

Part-time student: There is no tax relief on the first €1,500 spent on tuition fees (including the Student Contribution) for the 2015/2016 academic year.

More than one student: If you are claiming for more than one student, you will get full tax relief on tuition fees (including the Student Contribution) for the second or subsequent students.

You can find examples of how the tuition fees tax relief works on the Revenue website.

Tax years before 2011

You are not allowed to claim tax relief on the student services charge (now the Student Contribution) and tax relief is available on qualifying tuition fees up to a maximum of €5,000.

Courses that qualify for tax relief

Undergraduate courses

Tax relief is available for tuition fees paid for:

  • Approved full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in both private and publicly funded third-level colleges in the State
  • Approved full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in both private and publicly funded third-level colleges in any EU member state. This includes courses in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and teacher training.
  • Full-time and part-time undergraduate courses operated by colleges in any EU member state providing distance education in the State.

Conditions for granting tax relief for undergraduate courses

  • Courses must be for at least two years' duration
  • Colleges and courses within the State must be approved by the Department of Education and Skills

Postgraduate courses

Tax relief is available for tuition fees paid for:

  • Approved postgraduate courses in private and publicly funded colleges in the State
  • Postgraduate courses in a university or publicly funded college in another EU member state, including such colleges that provide distance education in the State
  • Postgraduate courses in a university or publicly funded third-level college in non-EU countries.

Conditions for granting tax relief for postgraduate courses

  • Courses must be for at least one academic year but not more than four academic years in duration and must lead to a postgraduate award based on either a thesis or an examination.
  • The person taking the course must already have a primary degree or an equivalent qualification.

Information technology and foreign language courses

Tax relief is available in respect of fees paid for training courses in information technology and foreign languages (other than postgraduate courses) if certain conditions are met:

  • The course involved must be less than two years' duration
  • It must result in the awarding of a certificate of competence (and not just a certificate of attendance)
  • The course must be approved by SOLAS.

Details of schemes

Revenue publishes detailed leaflets about tax relief for tuition fees. Leaflet IT 31 covers tax relief for undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Leaflet IT 31A covers tax relief for information technology and foreign language courses.

Rates of tax relief

Tax relief is given at the standard rate of 20%.

There is no limit on the number of individuals for whom you can claim.

Paying fees in instalments

If you pay fees in instalments and at least one instalment is paid in the tax year following the year your course started, then the relief for fees relating to that academic year may be granted either:

  • in the tax year the course started, or
  • the tax year in which the instalment was paid.

However, relief will only be granted in respect of amounts actually paid and subject to the maximum relief available in that academic year.

Undergraduate and postgraduate courses:

2011 tax year and after - the maximum amount of fees (including the Student Contribution) that can qualify for tax relief is €7,000 per person per course.

Before 2011 tax year - the maximum amount of qualifying fees allowable under the tax relief scheme is €5,000.

Information technology and foreign language courses:

The course fees paid must not be less than €315 and not more than €1,270 (these refer to the course fee and are not simply an amount per annum).

How to apply

For relief on fees for undergraduate or postgraduate courses, download the relevant application form (pdf) and return it to your local tax office.

For relief on fees for information technology and foreign language courses, download the relevant application form (pdf) and return it to your local tax office.

You should keep all receipts for fees paid, as Revenue may wish to see them in order to verify your claim.

Further information on tax relief on third-level fees is available from your local tax office.

Page edited: 9 December 2015

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