Relief for learners: claim training costs for tax purposes

Does an internship lasting several months already count as successful initial training? No, says a court.

Relief for learners: claim training costs for tax purposes

Does an internship lasting several months already count as successful initial training? No, says a court. This is always the case if a corresponding final examination has also been successfully completed. And that has consequences for the tax return.

It doesn't matter whether it's initial training or a subsequent one: the expenses for this can be included in the tax return and thus reduce the tax burden. Just different. Expenses for the initial training are part of the limited deductible vocational training costs as part of the special expenses. However, costs for a second training course must be taken into account as income-related expenses. But what is the difference?

"It should be noted that in the case of special expenses, in contrast to income-related expenses, no loss carry-forward is possible," says Daniela Karbe-Gessler from the Taxpayers' Association. The losses in the first degree cannot be accumulated, but can only be claimed as special expenses in the same year. In addition, the deductible amount for initial training costs is limited, but there is no cap for income-related expenses.

In a specific case, the Lower Saxony Finance Court ruled that expenses for airline pilot training are among the limited deductible vocational training costs (Ref.: 2 K 130/20. In this case, the prospective pilot had worked independently for many years without completing formal vocational training for this purpose The activity was based solely on a 20-month internship.

According to the judges, the internship did not replace professional training. Thus, the acquisition of the commercial pilot license is only possible as a special tax deduction, not as a deduction for income-related expenses.

A completed initial training is always present when a corresponding final examination has also been successfully passed. Just a longer internship with subsequent work is not sufficient.

An appeal against the decision of the Lower Saxony Finance Court is now underway before the Federal Finance Court (BFH, Az. VI R 22/21). Comparable cases can be kept open until the BFH has decided, according to the taxpayers' association.

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