Schools and colleges pay taxes

Save taxes with school fees, but not with tuition fees

There are more than 5,000 private schools in Germany. Many of them prepare for a vocational qualification, other general education schools for a school or year-end qualification. Around every twelfth student attends a school that is run by a non-governmental institution. These independent organizations often charge high school fees to finance them.

The tax office contributes to the corresponding costs - 30 percent of the expenses can be deducted from tax as special expenses. The maximum amount is 5,000 euros per child per year. Parents take full advantage of this if the school fee is 16,666 euros per year.

Private universities often charge similarly high tuition fees. The Federal Fiscal Court had to clarify whether tuition fees for attending a private university are also among the deductible costs. On October 10, 2017 (Az. X R 32/15), he decided that tuition fees do not fall under the concept of school fees, because: A university is not a school within the meaning of Section 10 (1) no. The tuition fees are also not exceptional expenses that are deductible (according to ยง 33 EStG).


The tax office favors attending schools in Germany or in a country of the European Union and the European Economic Area - but not in so-called third countries such as Switzerland or the USA. But: If it is a German school abroad, a deduction is always possible.