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A Student’s Guide to Claiming Tax

Written by Administrator on March 25, 2015

A Student's Guide To Claiming Tax

Let’s face it. As a student, more often than not you are living on a shoestring budget. Between books, nights out and rent/board, it can be a bit of a financial struggle.

So, like many others, you might have a part-time job – or two, or three! – which gives the bank balance a bit of a boost. But it still seems like a lot of your pay is going to the tax man.

Students are often the worst for claiming back tax as they think they’re not entitled to anything – that couldn’t be further from the truth. Therefore, I put together this guide to claiming tax specifically for students to help you get more of your hard earned cash back!

1. Emergency Tax

When you look at your payslip, does it look like a little too much of your pay is going to the tax man?? This could be due to you being charged Emergency Tax which is at a much higher rate than the Standard Tax Rate. This is particularly common if you’ve worked a couple of different jobs within the year, as all of your tax credits are applied to one job even if you aren’t using them all.

Assuming you have the standard Tax Credits (Personal & PAYE), you can earn up to €16,500 in one year before you start paying Income Tax. However, sometimes when you start working for the first time, your employer doesn’t have all the information they need so they charge you at a higher rate of tax. However, this can all be sorted by your employer once they’ve received the correct information from Revenue or by submitting a claim the following year.

2. Working part of the year

If you’re only working during the Summer holidays to get a bit of extra cash, you might have been taxed as if you were earning that pay throughout the whole year – and therefore, you’ve been charged more than you should. Typically, if you have just been working over the Summer, you should be able to claim the majority of your tax back.

3. Tuition Fees

You can claim tax relief at 20% against Tuition Fees you have paid in any given year – so long as you have paid tax in that year! Now, this one gets a little tricky as there’s a few sneaky conditions that can catch you out.

So, the basics are

  • Tax Relief is available for fees paid as far back as 2011 up to a maximum of €7,000 per year
  • Eligible fees include tuition fees and the Student Contribution butnot examination fees, registration fees or administration fees
  • The fees must relate to an approved course at an approved college
  • Tax relief is not available where you have received a grant or scholarship to cover your fees or your employer has paid for your tuition fees

Now, where it starts to get a bit tricky is that Revenue applies a ‘discarded amount’ when it comes to claiming tuition fees, which effectively subtracts a lump sum from your fees paid, before the tax relief is given. In 2014, this rate is €2,750 for full-time courses or €1,375 for part-time courses. Therefore, unless your course is very expensive, your tuition fees are unlikely to exceed this ‘discarded amount’.

Example: Studying Full-Time in Standard Fee Courses

2014 Student Contribution                           €2,750

Minus Discarded Amount                             -€2,750

Total for Tax Relief                                          €0

 

Example: Studying Full-Time in Higher Fee Courses

2014 Tuition Fees                                             €4,000

Minus Discarded Amount                             -€2,750

Total for Tax Relief                                          €1,250

Maximum Tax Relief @ 20%                          €250

There are also situations where this tax relief might still be available for students with lower tuition fees and this is where your parents are paying for your tuition fees, as well as those of a sibling/s. In these situations, your parents can apply for tax relief and all tuition fees paid in a year can be combined and only the one ‘discarded amount’ is deducted before tax relief is calculated.

Example: Two Children Studying Full-Time

2014 Student Contributions                         €5,500

Minus Discarded Amount                             -€2,750

Total for Tax Relief                                          €2,750

Maximum Tax Relief @ 20%                        €550

There is one exception to this rule, and that is in the case of Foreign Language or Information Technology courses. Special rules apply to approved Foreign Language and Information Technology courses, and 20% tax relief is available where tuition fees for an approved course are more than €315. The maximum relief is €1,270 per course.

4. Health Expenses

When it comes to doctors and dentists, these types of appointments can be put on the long finger when you’re a student, unless they’re absolutely necessary! But it’s in these situations when these expenses can add up to a tidy sum.

So long as you’ve paid tax in the relevant year, you can claim tax relief at 20% of qualifying health expenses – these include things like GP visits, prescriptions, physiotherapy (when prescribed by a GP) and hospital fees.

You can also claim for dental expenses, however this does not include routine dental such as fillings, extractions or scaling procedures. It does cover braces, crowns, veneers and surgical extraction of wisdom teeth.

Be Sure to Claim Back What is Yours

So many people don’t bother to claim back what is rightfully theirs as they think it’s not worth the hassle. But, we think it’s better off in your pocket than in Revenue’s and we take all the hassle out of claiming back your taxes. All you have to do is fill in the form and sit back and wait for your Tax Agent to deliver the news!

Apply now for your 4-year tax review – if there’s no refund, there’s no fee!
Written by Alexandra Byrne

Alexandra Byrne - Tax AgentI’m what you call an all-rounder! Having worked in customer services, accounting and 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 like spreading the word about tax refunds – so as many people as possible can claim everything they are entitled to.

 

Posted Under: Income Tax, Paye Tax, Refund Examples, Tax Refunds, Tuition Fees

57 replies to “A Student’s Guide to Claiming Tax

  1. Baljit singh

    I am student. I am working as Security Officer. I do not know why my company deduct three type of tax from my weekly salary. If i earn 500 week they deduct 120 from salary. Can i get back some money.

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Baljit,
      You will see deductions from your Salary of Income Tax, USC and PRSI. The Amount of Income Tax and USC deducted will vary depending on your situation, so cannot say how much tax you should have deducted with just that information. But if you send us in your application form, I’ll be able to check this for you. You can download the application form from https://www.redoaktaxrefunds.ie/application-forms, or I can post it to you.

      Best wishes,
      John

      Reply

  2. Sophie

    Thank you very much for the blog! I just have a little question, I am a resident in the UK and have done an internship in Ireland over last summer. Should I pay tax at 20% of my total income? Many thanks!

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Sophie, you should have had tax deducted at source on your internship, so more that likely your taxes are correct or even overpaid.
      Worth checking out!

      Reply

  3. Az

    I am international student of DBS for ACCA course full time. I have a question. If I’m not working in Ireland during my studies, which mean I will not be paying income tax, can I still claim for Tuition fee tax claim?
    Thank you.

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Az, welcome to Ireland! You will not be able to get a tax refund for tuition fees as it is only refunded against tax paid, and of course if you are not working, you will not be paying tax here.

      Reply

  4. Bilal

    Hi AZ,i have paid course fees in 2015 when i was not doing any job in ireland,i got job in mid 2016 and paying tax since june/2016,,when i claimed tax relief in respect of tution fees paid in 2015 tax authororties refuse my claim and said u wasnt paid any tax in 2015..my question is can i still claim this tax of 205 in 2016??or give ur prfessional advice how could i get

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Bilal, it depends on how Revenue have dealt with this in 2015 whether you can claim it in 2016. If a tax credit was awarded in 2015, even if no Refund was due, then it cannot be claimed in 2016.
      We can look into this as part of a full review of your taxes – but it does show how easily ticking a wrong box can result in you missing out on refunds for good.

      best wishes,
      John

      Reply

  5. Rim

    Hi, I am an international student and worked Jun 2013 through Nov 2015 while doing an undergrad in DBS then a postgrad in Trinity both courses appear on the list, would I be able to claim back the relief?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Rim,

      Thanks for your question. It can depend on how much tax you have paid and also, the amount you paid for your tuition fees. Firstly, you need to have paid enough PAYE tax to claim it back against. Secondly, the qualifying amount, depending on the year and if full time or part time, will be disregarded so would need to be above this amount. We can check it better for you if we can see all of the information. If you complete your details on our online form here and scan/photo your tuition fee receipts to us we can check it for you in more detail then. Any questions you can let me know.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  6. Thanh

    Hi az, I paid the fee of 12000 in 2015 for the 12 months course( year 2015/2
    016). I didn’t work ịn 2015. I just have started work for 2 months and I already have had tax credit certificate for PAYE and Personal. I wonder if I can claim tax for tuition fee for the whole year 2017, or can claim tax for just few last months of 2016, or cannot claim tax at all? Thanks in advance.

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Thanh,

      Thanks for your question. If the fees you paid in 2015 relates to a course that is for the 2015/2016 academic year you can claim it back against this years taxes. However, if you only started working now this year then you probably won’t pay enough tax this year to claim back against. We can check your 2016 taxes in January once the tax year ends to know for definite.

      Anything else let me know.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  7. Lisa

    Hi, iv just started my first job as an accommodation assistant. Now I’m hearing all about taxs, emergency tax, and I have no idea how it all works.. I’m on 9.55 an hour from 8 to 5. started on friday September 30th, an I’ll have worked 7 days this Thursday then im off friday and that’s when I’ll be getting my first pay but I had to fill out a form yesterday (Monday) I think its called p12 not too sure lol I was supposed to get payed this Friday but with the delay in sending the ‘p12’ form I won’t be getting paid til next Friday… Iv heard from d girls I work with that I will be put on emergency tax and that half my wages will be taken off me, but I can claim it back in 4 weeks?
    Can you put some light on this for me please lol I’m new to all this an would love to understand it more.. Thanks…

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. Your first job is daunting enough without having to worry about all this tax stuff as well so I’ll help as best I can. The form that you filled out was probably a form 12A. This is to basically register you and your new employment with Revenue and to get your basic tax credits. Once Revenue have processed that form (can take them a few weeks) they will send what’s called a tax credit certificate to you and your employer, so at that stage then your employer will know the correct tax to charge you based on that.

      Until then, yes you will be on what’s called emergency tax, which is a temporary tax credit until you receive your tax credit certificate. So you will be on high tax at the start but you will get all of this back in your next pay slip once your employer has the tax credit certificate.

      You can give Revenue a call after a couple of weeks to make sure they have the form 12A and then check with your employer once the tax credit certificate is received about getting your emergency tax back then as well.

      All the best in the new job,
      Ray

      Reply

  8. Alex

    Hi,

    I started working full time in Ireland again back in May, after working abroad for the last two years. I also started a post grad course in September (Academic year 2016/17), the fees were 5700. I have an IT31 form filled out, but I’m wondering am I better off waiting until mid 2017 to claim? so that i can claim back the maximum for my fees?

    Thanks in advance for your help 🙂

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Yes you have to wait until the tax year ends before Revenue will process that form for you. You can submit it at any stage next year 2017 and the earliest would be when you receive your P60 with your 2016 pay and tax details on it.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  9. Emma

    Hi, I have a query. I have worked for the last 10 years and am currently working. I previously completed a degree in Engineering back in 2005. I am studying part time with the OU and am studying a psychology degree which will take approx 6 years (currently in my 3rd year). Does anything about either studying part time/length of course/fact i already have a previous undergrad prevent me from claiming tax relief on fees for this course. I am confused as when you study a post grad course to claim tax it can only be up to 2 years, mine however is a 2nd undergrad but it is 6 years thanks

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Emma,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I can’t see the course that you mentioned on Revenue’s approved list but that’s not to say they won’t allow it. For a post graduate course Revenue state that the course must be of at least 1 academic year but no more than 4 academic years in duration and lead to a postgraduate award based on either a thesis or an examination. If it is an undergraduate course then it only has to be at least 2 years in duration.

      The only way to know for definite is to submit a claim to Revenue and they will advise if it qualifies once they check the details provided themselves.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  10. Aggie

    Hi I am living and working in Ireland for last 10 years, in 2016 I started to study online in different country in EU, can I claim anything from my tuition fees or cost of travel?
    Thanks

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Aggie,

      Thanks for getting in touch. The course and college have to be on Revenue’s list of approved colleges and courses for 2016. You can see the list here for 2016. If the course is included then the amount you can claim back depends on how much PAYE tax you paid in the same year and if the course is full time or part time as Revenue disregard the first amount dependent on that.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  11. Áine

    I earned 13917 in the year 2016 before returning to full time education in September. I was wondering how much of my PAYE and USC I am entitled to claim back?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Aine,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If that was your total income for the year you should be due back all of your PAYE tax paid and the USC will depend on how much you paid, we would only know that by reviewing your taxes for you.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  12. Christy

    Hi,
    I am an international student and paid 11000 in 2015. I worked until 2016 Nov and not working at present. I have claimed for the tax refunds for the year 2016. Can I claim the tax relief of my tuition fee for 2016? Will I get the tax relief as I am not working at the moment?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Christy,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You can claim against the tuition fees in either the year that you paid them or the year the course commenced if you paid in installments. If you paid them in 2015 then you would claim them against your 2015 taxes.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  13. Aveek Barua

    Hello there,
    I am an International Student studying in Griffith College, Dublin. I have paid 11000 Euro in 2016 for the course also I started to work in many part -time jobs in Ireland. Can you please tell me am I eligible to get tax back on my tution fees.

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Aveek,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If you are working part time it will mainly depend on how much PAYE tax that you have paid as that is the tax you can claim the tuition fees back against. If your total income is below roughly €16,500 for the year then you don’t have to pay any PAYE tax on that and therefore would not have any PAYE tax paid to claim back the tuition fees against. You will be able to see on your 2016 P60 how much PAYE tax you paid.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  14. MrDykes

    Hi.
    Just a background, I am a non eu national doing a Masters degree is Trinity and started in sept 2016 (its approved under the third level graduate scheme) so i’m fairly certain it will be approved for the tax credit also.
    Currently, I am doing a 4 month internship (part of my course) and I will being paid. However, after that I do not have a job BUT I PLAN TO stay here in ireland and look for a job!

    A couple of questions!

    I have got my PPS number but to get the tax credit certificate, I have to fill the online form at revenue.ie. Now, I am NOT a tax resident based on the questions I answered (example the minimum 183 days in 2017 and 280 something days in 2016-2017 etc).
    But after the questions, I was asked if I should voluntarily register as a tax resident. So should I? Will it be better or not? P.S I do not have any other income (neither in irealnd nor abroad)

    And secondly, will I be able to claim benefit for the paid fees? The fees are for my current course (academic year is 2016/2017) and I paid almost 18000 euro.

    Sorry for the long post. I wanted to provide details so you will be in a better position.

    Thanks!
    Dyke

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Dyke,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You will need to check with Revenue and your employer in relation to how you will be registered, if you in paid employment then your employer should be deducting taxes from your income.

      To be able to claim the Tuition Fees as a tax credit against your PAYE taxes you need to be paying PAYE tax. Generally then your income will need to be above €16,500 before you start paying PAYE tax and this is the tax that you can claim your tuition fees back against.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  15. Shiva

    Hi, I paid the fee of 10000 in 2015 for the 12 months course( year 2015/2
    016). I didn’t work during 2015. I did part time job during June & July 2016. I just have started to work full time from May 2017. I wonder if I can claim tax for tuition fee for the year 2015-16 or cannot claim tax at all? Thanks in advance.

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Shiva,

      Thanks fore getting in touch. If you paid the fee in 2015 you would only be able to claim tax relief in that year so you would need to have paid PAYE tax in 2015 as well to claim back against.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  16. Mark Egan

    Hi,
    I’m a student in UL and I’ve been working in a local factory during college breaks and every Saturday since January. Currently I’m paying relatively little or no tax on my income e.g ( €16.97 out of 424.35) out of a 45/46 hour week. My Gross earnings are at almost €9000 and I’m wondering at what stage will I start being taxed at 20%.
    Thanks

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You would be due to start paying PAYE tax on any income above roughly €16,500.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  17. Sukanya Saikia

    Hi, I’m a PhD student in Galway and I’m receiving a full scholarship amount which is tax free. However, I would like to work part-time too. Is the salary from a part time job taxable? If so, what is the taxable limit per week?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hello,

      Thanks for getting in touch. A single person can earn up to €16,500 for the year before paying PAYE tax.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  18. Catherine

    Hi there!

    I’m a secondary school student here in Ireland and I have a weekend job (i.e. Saturdays and Sundays plus school holidays). I’m a bit unsure on what taxes I’m meant to be paying and how much I’m able to claim back? I’ve registered the job with Revenue and am waiting for them to contact my employer about my tax credits (I think?).

    I’m just a bit unsure about the whole process and would really appreciate any help you could give.

    Thanks,
    Catherine

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You have done the correct thing in registering the job with Revenue and yes they will send out a copy of your tax credit certificate to you and your employer then. Once your employer has this then they will deduct the correct amount of PAYE tax and USC based on that. If you have been paying emergency tax this will be refunded in your next payslip once the details have been updated.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  19. Darakshan

    Hi,

    I am a student of DBS and I have worked in a coffee shop my total wages were 312.19 and I received 162.36. Can I claim back the tax I have paid. I paid paye 124.86, usc 24.97 and prsi er 26.54.

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hello,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If it is for the current year you can claim any overpaid tax in January once the tax year ends and you receive your 2017 P60 then as well.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  20. Aisha

    Hello there,
    I have been enrolled in course Sep 2016 as an international student and working from last year as a part time and I am still studying. I am wonder if I am eligible to claim tax 20% my tuition fees back.

    Any type of guidance would be appreciated ..
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Aisha,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You need to be paying PAYE tax in your employment in order to be able to claim any tuition fees back against that tax. If you are doing a full time course the first €3,000 is disregarded. Anything above this then up to €7,000 can be claimed back against the PAYE tax that you have paid in the same year if the course and college are approved by Revenue.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  21. Bernadine

    I am still a secondary student. I did not know that i had to update my revenue account for my first job to get a tax refund. However, i filled it out after i finished my contract. Will i be able to still get a refund?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Bernadine,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Once you have registered the employment with Revenue they should end out some documentation to you to confirm. You can get your taxes reviewed and claim back any tax due for any tax paid between 2014 and 2017 currently.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  22. Jim

    Hi, I paid €3k for a number of courses for ACCA exams in 2015, can I make a claim for this. I don’t see the training providers names on the Revenues website. I presume I’ll be ok if I have receipts? Thanks

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You can contact Revenue directly to check if you can’t find the course on the list, they should be able to confirm for definite then.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  23. Annie Mitchell

    Hi I am a student in Sligo It and have worked part time for the last four years. I never earn over €16,500 a year therefor never pay tax. I’m paying for braces myself and was wondering am I entitled to claim back the 20% if I’m not paying tax? Thanks

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Annie,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately, if you do not pay any PAYE tax then you would have no tax to claim the dental work back against.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  24. sean

    hi i am a student on placement for 6 months. I am currently paying paye and prsi, will i be able to claim either/both of these back at the end of the year? if so how much? I will be earning less than 16000.
    thanks

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Sean,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If your total income for the year is below €16,000 then you should be able to claim back any PAYE tax paid. You can’t claim back any PRSI.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  25. Maria

    Hi, I work in a job sharing position and I’m attending part time third level nursing college abroad and all fees I’m paying myself. Am I entitled on any tax back ?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Maria,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You can check the Revenue approved list of colleges and courses here to see if yours is included.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  26. Tola

    Hi, I worked during summer 2017 but didn’t register for tax. I didn’t get a p45 either then I got a Christmas job too and didn’t register for tax and because I didn’t have a p45 I got emergency tax again. I have a new job now and I registered for tax but I still haven’t gotten a p45 from either previous employer, I’ve emailed them to send it to me so it’s on its way now. I have p60s from both and I’m wondering what’s the best way to get my tax back

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Tola,

      Thanks for getting in touch. At this stage all of your 2017 pay and tax details should already be updated with Revenue so you may not need any P45 or P60 to get your taxes reviewed. If you would like us to review your PAYE taxes and USC you just need to complete our online form.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  27. Juan

    Hi, I payed the tuition fees in 2017 for a Msc with academic year 2017/2018. I will start working when finish the course in 2018. I am going to pay PAYE tax and USC. I was wondering if I am entitled to claim back for the paid fees of 2017 in the taxes of 2018.

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Juan,

      Thanks for getting in touch. It will depend if you have enough PAYE tax paid at the end of the year and on the amount paid. If you hold on to the receipt for what you have paid you can check it against your PAYE tax from 2018 then.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Rob,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If you are a student you don’t need to advise Revenue of this. Your taxes will be based on your total income for the year and your employer will calculate this based on your list of tax credits from your tax credit certificate.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

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