Monday 23 July 2018

Families fail to claim tax relief on college fees worth thousands

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Parents are missing out on hundreds, or even thousands, of euro every year by not claiming tax relief on college fees.

Student costs are creeping up and those who leave home to attend college face an average bill of €11,829 in the next academic year.

That's up from €11,766 in 2017-18, according to the annual guide from Dublin Institute of Technology's Campus Life service.

But Dr Brian Gormley, who heads up Campus Life, believes that Irish families, collectively, are missing out on millions of euro because they haven't claimed tax relief on fees.

"It is clear from talking to students and their families that it is not widely known that you can get tax relief on college fees paid," he said.

Dr Gormley referred to a recent survey showing that less than 12pc of students claimed back tax and for full-time undergraduates the figure is 7pc.

While tax relief is not available on all student charges, there are many circumstances in which it can be claimed - at the rate of 20pc.

Generally, fees in private colleges qualify and parents paying the €3,000 contribution charge for any more than one child in a publicly funded college may also make a claim.

In addition, a student paying tuition fees may be entitled to tax back.

Costs

The student charge of €3,000 is among a range of costs facing students, including accommodation, utilities, food, travel, books, medical expenses, clothes, mobile phone and social life.

Higher rental costs in Dublin make accommodation in the capital considerably more expensive than the national average.

However, increasing numbers of out-of-town students studying in Dublin are going for more affordable options, including commuting long distances, or moving in with families, known as "digs", which has had an impact on demand for private rented accommodation and prices.

The DIT guide offers advice on how to cut costs on housing, travel and other day-to-day expenses.

Irish Independent

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