First or Second Ausbildung?
Your tax situation depends on your CV. This is because initial and secondary education are treated differently. The Federal Constitutional Court confirmed this in November 2019 in its long-awaited ruling. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a let-down than a relief for Azubis.
You are in your first training only when you have not acquired another training or study qualification between your school years and your current training.
In this case, you may deduct a maximum of €6,000 of your training costs as special expenses (Sonderausgaben). Additionally, negative income cannot be carried forward into the following year as a loss.
On the other hand, if you are in the process of completing your secondary education, you may deduct the full amount of your education costs as income-related expenses (Werbungskosten). For negative income, a so-called loss carryforward (Verlustvortrag) is possible. This implies that you can take your losses into the following year. This can theoretically be repeated several times if your situation does not change immediately; in your first year as a fully employed person, you can then expect a corresponding tax break or refund.
If you receive money during your initial training, you are in a so-called ’employment relationship’ (Dienstverhältnis) and are allowed to deduct all your training costs in full from your taxes as income-related expenses. In fact, this is the rule for an apprenticeship in Germany.
What can I Deduct From Taxes During my Ausbildung?
During your apprenticeship or ‘Ausbildung’, you will incur many expenses. These are the most common expenses that you can deduct from your taxes:
- Fees for admission, courses and exams
- Travel costs to the training center and vocational school
- Costs for a second home at the training location
- Moving expenses
- Costs for work equipment and learning materials
Correctly Deduct Ausbildung-Related Commute Costs From Taxes
In most cases, your training takes place at two different locations: the training company and the vocational school. Travel costs between your home and these two places are calculated differently.
You can only declare one place as your first place of work in your tax return. This is usually your training company. If you only have a school education, the vocational school is your first place of work.
The easiest way to deduct your travel expenses is to use the travel allowance, also known as ‘Fahrtkostenpauschale’ or ‘Pendlerpauschale’. This is currently 30 cents per kilometer for the one-way distance between your home and your first place of work.
You can deduct trips to vocational school as business trips. You can do this with the business trip flat rate. If you drive your own car, this is again 30 cents per kilometer for the outward and return journey. Are you traveling with your moped or motorcycle? Then it’s 20 cents per kilometer. If you are traveling by bicycle, you can unfortunately not deduct anything.