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Old 25.11.2017, 10:34
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Tax - education costs deductible?

Hi! Just got back my swiss tax return for 2016, and need your help to understand what education costs are deductible. The rules have changed for 2016 (see below). We're both dual Swiss/Canadian citizens and live here permanently.

My wife completed an MBA so we're claiming those costs. She already has a Bachelor degree from Canada. Nothing was accepted ("Ausbildungskosten nicht zulässig")

What do you think?
Thanks!

cheers,
dave
---
Neuer Abzug bei Aus- und Weiterbildung
Ab dem 1. Januar 2016 muss nicht mehr zwischen Aus- und Weiterbildungskosten unterschieden werden. Bisher war diese Unterscheidung wichtig, weil nur die Kosten der Weiterbildung, nicht aber die Kosten der Ausbildung steuerlich zum Abzug gebracht werden konnten. Ab dem Steuerjahr 2016 berechtigen sämtliche berufsorientierten Aus- und Weiterbildungen zum Abzug. Der Abzug ist allerdings neu auf 12'000 Franken pro Jahr begrenzt.
Bedingung für den Abzug ist, dass bereits ein erster Abschluss auf Sekundarstufe II vorliegt. Liegt kein erster Abschluss auf Sekundarstufe II vor, können die Kosten einer berufsorientierten Aus- und Weiterbildung erst ab dem vollendeten 20. Altersjahr in Abzug gebracht werden. Vom Abzug ausgenommen sind dann allerdings die Kosten für einen ersten Abschluss auf Sekundarstufe II
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Old 25.11.2017, 11:29
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Re: Tax - education costs deductible?

As of 2016 for Ct. Zurich, post-high school, occupational-oriented educational costs, borne by the taxpayer, can be deducted up to CHF 12'000 per year. See p. 20 at the Ct. Zurich income tax instructions for 2016:

https://www.steueramt.zh.ch/internet...016_HA_DEF.pdf

This form also needs to be completed detailing the costs, minus any employer contributions:

https://www.steueramt.zh.ch/internet...016_HA_DEF.pdf

Based on what is described, it would seem that she could legitimately deduct MBA-related costs up to the maximum amount.

Questions:

1. Is an MBA relevant to what she does or plans to do occupationally?
- Since there is no longer a distinction between educational and continuing education costs, the costs only need to be occupational-oriented.
- A course in "Beautifying your Home" might not be occupational-oriented.

2. Did she have an income in 2016 that the costs could be deducted from?
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Old 25.11.2017, 12:04
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Re: Tax - education costs deductible?

Hi Mullhollander, thank you for the info! I neglected to mention we're in Canton Bern - I'd believe the rules here are the same as in Zurich.

1. yes, an MBA is relevant to her current/future working role
2. yes, she worked 90% while taking the course

Ill write a note similar to the form you provided (so far I can't find the equivalent for BE), and send it to my Steuerverwaltung.
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Old 25.11.2017, 12:22
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Re: Tax - education costs deductible?

These links contain relevant information regarding deductibility of educational and continuing education costs for Ct. Bern:

See para. 6.6:

http://www.fin.be.ch/fin/de/index/st...ersonen_de.pdf

See para. 2. and 3.1 (second part):

http://www.fin.be.ch/fin/de/index/st...bildung_de.pdf

The Ct. Bern instructions explicitly exclude "hobby courses", such as dance and painting courses. I would not expect that a serious MBA program would be considered a hobby. It is important that she uses or intends to use her MBA in her occupation.
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Old 25.11.2017, 12:38
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Re: Tax - education costs deductible?

Nice! Ok, I've sent my letter off, hopefully they'll reconsider or at least explain why the costs were rejected.

Based on your links, even my Migros Klubschule Bärndüütschkurs costs could be deducted, since it's relevant for my job Too bad it was prior to 2016

Thanks again and have a nice weekend!
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Old 28.01.2018, 15:34
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Re: Tax - education costs deductible?

Just got a note from the tax department saying that I will get a refund! No amount was stated, just a request to provide my bank account info.
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Old 29.01.2018, 13:54
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Re: Tax - education costs deductible?

This thread got me thinking, is it possible to deduct the cost for doing the driving license and associated L2 courses?
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Old 18.03.2018, 18:11
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Re: Tax - education costs deductible?

I’m pregnant and fully supported by my husband at the moment and he needs to file his tax soon. I have been doing German language courses. Does anybody know if my German course fees are tax deductible? Thanks!
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