The Leaving Cert results will be issued this Wednesday. For most, it will herald the start of a new life – the jubilation of the results, the excitement of starting college, a path to their new career – their life’s work.
But for students and parents alike, it can be a time of enormous financial worry: how to support a student through 3 or 4 years of education? Are they eligible for a grant? Will they get a loan?
Well, the good news is you can claim back 20% of the cost of tuition fees for third level education against your taxes.
So what courses are eligible?
Revenue provides a list of all third level courses which are eligible for relief in Ireland and EU member States.
In most instances, the course can be the following:
- undergraduate courses of at least 2 years duration
- postgraduate courses of at least 1 year duration
- full-time or part-time
- public or private colleges
- inclusive of most subjects from arts to sciences, IT to finance
There are, however, some notable exceptions to this, primarily:
- approved foreign language courses
- approved information technology courses
These courses must be approved by FAS, must be 2 years or less, and cannot be postgraduate level. They must also cost more than €315 to be eligible for relief.
What expenses can you claim back?
If you are the parent of a student or if you are a working student yourself, you can claim tuition fees for the cost of the course, including the student contribution, up to a maximum of €7,000. Things that can’t be claimed include exam fees, administration fees, registration fees or fees which have already been met by a grant, a scholarship or paid by your employer.
There is also a standard amount which is taken-off the amount of the total fees claimed. For instance, in 2014 this amount is €2,750 for a full-time course and is €1,375 for a part-time course.
Let’s look at an example to see how this works:
Angela’s daughter is studying in UCD. Her tuition expenses look like this:
€5000 Course Fee
+ €1000 Student Contribution
+ €300 Registration Fee
+ €700 Exam Fee
Total Fees: €7000
Now we must deduct any fees paid met by other sources, any ineligible fees and the discard amount:
€7000 Total Fees
– €2000 Student Grant
– €300 Registration Fee
– €700 Exam Fee
– €2750 Discard Amount
Eligible Fees: €1250
So Angela can claim €1250 @ 20% which is €250 of a refund.
Now the good news is, if Angela has more than one child in college, she only needs to count the discard amount once.
So if after grants and ineligible fees both courses come to €8,000, the discard is still €2750 and Angela can claim €5250 worth of fees, which would get her a refund of €1050. That will certainly help Angela pay for other expenses like her daughters’ accommodation!
So what do we need to get you started?
To have an expert determine if you or your child’s course qualifies for Tuition Tax Credits, fill out the application form here and send us your receipts detailing:
- The name of college
- The full course title
- If the course is full-time or part-time
- If the course is undergraduate or postgraduate
- Duration of the course
- PPS Number of the student (if you are claiming for your child’s fees)
Then, just sit back and relax, while we do the rest!
Written by Alexandra Byrne
I’m what you call an all-rounder! Having worked in customer services, accounting and now in marketing, I’m the one who can tie all the pieces of the puzzle together. I’ve a BSc from University of Limerick so I’m analytical, but I also love change! I’m constantly astounded by the lack of awareness we Irish have about our entitlements, and I like spreading the word about tax refunds – so as many people as possible can claim everything they are entitled to.