Can I deduct educational expenses?

Your educational expenses are deductible if they are made with an aim to increase your income potential. Either to specialise within your current competences or to maintain them.

Educational expenses (business expenses)
If you have started your own business, educational expenses would typically form business expenses if they are aimed at keeping your current competences up to date. In this case the educational expenses are deductible for Dutch personal income tax purposes at the progressive rate of 44% (52% with a deduction of 14%). No threshold applies.

However, in case the educational expenses can be considered to be out of scope of your current business (additional specialisation or other service offering) and not to maintain your current knowledge, the stance can be taken that the educational expenses could form a personal itemized deduction) .

Educational expenses (personal itemized deduction)
In case you have not set-up your business or decide not to pursue this option, a personal itemized deduction can be taken into account in case your personal income potential increases by taking the course. In this case the educational expenses are deductible for Dutch personal income tax purposes at the progressive rate of 52%. The educational expenses are deductible for the amount that they exceed the EUR 250 threshold. The expense deduction is capped at EUR 15,000. In case you have a Dutch tax partner, the deduction can be transferred. This can be handy in case you have no income. Your partner can then deduct these expenses and claim a refund.

VAT treatment of educational expenses
In case you started your own business the VAT you incurred on the educational expenses could be reimbursed, assuming you would be an entrepreneur for VAT purposes and perform VAT-able services. The educational expenses would need to be made in lieu of your business and the invoice would need to meet the conditions for the VAT reimbursement. The VAT treatment is irrespective of the Dutch personal income tax treatment. Thus, it does not matter whether you treat the educational expenses as business expense or as itemized deduction for Dutch personal income tax purposes.

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