It pays to file a student tax return!

You can recoup many of your study costs by filing a student tax return. We give you all the tips and information you need on deadlines, deductible expenses, and the obligation to file a tax return.

    01.

    When is it worth filing a tax return as a student?

    If you are a student, you are generally not obliged to file a tax return. However, filing voluntarily means you can get money back from the state - and quite a bit at that!

    Many people studying probably think filing a tax return isn’t worth it because they don't work full time, but this is not true. As a student, you have more expenses during your studies than you might realize, and many of them are tax-deductible (find those under 4).

    When am I obliged to file a tax return as a student?

    In some instances, it may be mandatory for a student to file a tax return:

    02.

    How much tax do you get back as a student?

    This generally cannot be determined, though, the latest figures show that employees who have submitted a tax return for a year receive an average of 1,095 euros back from the tax office.

    For students, this amount is usually lower. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t file – a tax refund for a student can be very worthwhile.

    Calculate your tax refund now:`

    Answer our easy-to-understand questions, and we tell you how much you can expect to get back from the tax office.

    Start the Taxfix app free of charge and without obligation.

    Tax is special for students

    As a student, you have a lot on your mind, but a tax return may not be one of those things. Inken explains everything you need to know about how to file your taxes as a student and, above all, answers the most important question: Is it worth it?

    03.

    How do you file a tax return as a student?

    Taxfix is the easiest way for students to file a tax return. You don't need a diploma or a master's degree in tax law to file a tax return with Taxfix. We make things easy to understand:

    1. In the simple question-and-answer procedure, you are guided through your tax return step by step. You’re only asked to answer simple questions, and there are no extensive, complicated forms.
    2. All your necessary data is collected and automatically entered into the official tax forms.
    3. All your study costs are included in your tax return.
    4. Your estimated tax refund is calculated immediately – free of charge and without risk.
    5. When you are satisfied, you can submit your tax documents to your tax office through Taxfix.

    Finish your tax return even faster.

    Use tax office data and save time on your taxes: With Taxfix’s data retrieval, much of your tax info is retrieved directly from the tax office and automatically entered into your tax return. Less paperwork for you!

    04.

    What can I deduct from my taxes as a student?

    Your expenses during studies may be different or lower than at a later stage in life and employment – but you still have every opportunity to get good money back from the taxman!

    You can claim these costs as tax deductions:

    Cost

    Examples

    Package available?

    More information

    Tuition fee

    Semester fee, examination fees, admission tests, seminar expenses

    No

    Information on deducting tuition fees or start directly with Taxfix

    Ride costs

    Drive to the university or library. Also: journeys between the main residence and the second residence

    0.30 euros per km one way, from km 21: 0.38 euros. Max: 4,500 euros

    Deduct travel expenses during your studies or start directly with Taxfix

    Telephone and internet costs

    Smartphone contract, internet at home, landline

    20 euros per month (240 euros per year)

    Deduct internet costs during your studies or start directly with Taxfix

    Computer

    Computer, tablet, software and peripherals

    No, but full depreciation is possible in the same year or within 12 months. Only partial use for the study can be claimed for tax purposes

    Deduct your computer and tablet or start directly with Taxfix

    Literature and other tools

    Specialist literature, special equipment, didactic materials, printing and copying costs, pens, pads, etc.

    No, deducting the actual amount or using the non-complaint limit ("Nichtbeanstandungsgrenze") of 110 euros (not guaranteed, but mostly accepted)

    Deduct literature and learning materials or start directly with Taxfix

    Accommodation costs

    Possible in the case of a student flat as a second home ("Zweitwohnung")

    No, rent is fully deductible

    Deduct your second home or start directly with Taxfix

    Student loan

    Interest on student loan repayment

    No, credit costs are fully deductible

    Deduct the student loan or start directly with Taxfix

    Now also for 2023!

    At Taxfix you can now find all the updates for the new tax year 2023 and can get started with your return straight away.

    Start now

    As you can see, there are many ways to deduct costs in your tax return. The Taxfix app helps you with this. It reminds you of your expenses, retrieves all the necessary information from you by asking simple questions, and accurately enters your expenses in the right places.

    We have collected more information on deductions for students in our guide.

    Important notice:

    The Federal Constitutional Court has ruled (Ref: 2 BvL 22/14 and others) that expenses for first studies and first training may not be claimed as income-related expenses. Instead, they are considered special expenses. These are limited to 6,000 euros per year. However, special expenses only have a tax effect if there is also taxable income in the same year.

    05.

    Which tax class are students in?

    As a student, you usually fall into tax class 1 – also the standard class for employees – but exceptions can occur:

    • If you have several employers, tax class 6 applies
    • For single parents, tax class 2 applies
    • Other life circumstances, such as marriage, also put you in a different tax class

    More about tax classes:

    You can get a detailed picture of the tax classes in our advice article. Find out if you are in tax class 1, like most students, or another tax class.

    Get 4x the taxes back with the student tax return

    Get your 2018, 2019, 2020 und 2021 student expenses back with Taxfix, via the app or browser.

    Start now

    Taxfix advantages for all

    With Germany's most popular mobile tax app, you can do your tax return in no time.

    Guided and intuitive process

    Answer our easy-to-understand questions, get guided through your tax declaration, and sit back.

    Reliable check of your data

    We check your data for plausibility through sophisticated plausibility checks.

    Estimated tax refund, free of charge

    If you choose to file your own taxes with Taxfix, we’ll calculate how much you can expect back from the tax office.

    Efficient and secure tax returns

    Only answer what's related to your case, avoid non-necessary information.

    06.

    Losses carry-forward: claim taxes back in the future

    Not earning any money during your studies? Do your tax return anyway! With a loss carry-forward, you can profit from it later.

    This is how it works: When you file your tax return, your income and expenses are offset against each other. If you have a loss because your expenses are too high, it is carried and offset against your income in the next tax year.

    With the loss carry-forward, you can take losses into the period after your studies too, saving on taxes in your first year of work.

    07.

    Tax returns for second education

    In contrast to a first degree, a second degree/secondary education is considered further education. As an example, expenses for your Master's degree, or a course of study after you have completed an apprenticeship or another course of study can be deducted in a tax return as further education costs.

    These are considered income-related expenses, and can therefore be deducted in full. This saves you income tax during your studies.

    More about second education:

    You can find more information on the correct deduction of expenses and the requirements for a second degree/secondary education in our advice article.

    Taxfix covers this case completely. So, start right away!

    08.

    Tax return for first degree studies

    A first degree refers to a person’s first course of study.

    If this is one's first education at all – for example, no training was completed before the studies – these studies are then considered as initial education.

    If we assume that the first study is also the first training, the allowable expenses are only deductible as special expenses, not as income-related expenses, as in the case of second training (see above). The maximum deductible amount is limited to 6,000 euros.

    More on first degree/first training:

    You can find out how to deduct your first degree and the applicable requirements in our advice article.

    Taxfix covers this tax situation and makes the process easy to understand. So, start right away!

    Scan your income tax certificate, and you're done!

    Get it early! Submit now so the tax office takes care of your tax return early. Simply upload your income tax certificate and answer the simple questions.

    Start now for free

    09.

    Deadlines for student tax returns

    If you are studying and are required to file a tax return, you have the same amount of time to do so as other mandatory tax filers. Unfortunately, there is no relief for student tax returns. Since you are required to file a tax return for several jobs, you should be aware of this deadline.

    Deadlines for mandatory submissions:

    • 2023 tax year : September 02, 2024
    • 2024 tax year (with tax advice): July 31, 2025

    It is important to note in general that students are not required to file a tax return. But, since a student tax return can still be very worthwhile, we recommend calculating your possible tax refund with our quick and easy Taxfix tax calculator.As with other tax groups, students have four years to file a voluntary tax return.

    Deadlines for voluntary submissions:

    • 2023 tax year: 31 December 2027
    • 2022 Tax year: 31 December 2026
    • 2021 tax year: 31 December 2025
    • 2020 tax year: 31 December 2024

    You can find out which submission deadlines apply for other tax years here.

    Submitting your tax return retroactively as a student

    Even if you haven't submitted a tax return in recent years, it's not too late! As a student, you can file voluntary tax returns for up to 4 years retroactively.

    For example, until the end of 2024, you can file your tax return for 2020 and the following years with the tax office.

    Can I file a tax return for my studies after I graduate?

    Yes, the retroactive four years for the tax return also apply here. Losses carried forward can usually even be claimed retroactively for up to seven years.

    The tax office pays you interest

    If you file your tax return late, you may even receive more money from the state. If you have not filed a tax return for the last few years, the tax office will pay you interest on the amount you get back. Although a few conditions do apply, this means you can get even more money from the tax office!

    You can find all the information under interest from the tax office.

    10.

    Tax return for students: ELSTER vs. Taxfix

    As you have already read, Taxfix is very different from the classic ELSTER online service. Students who do their tax returns with ELSTER are required to fill out complex forms that are often very difficult to understand.

    The questions in the Taxfix app, however, are intuitive, simply worded and offer an explanation box if you get stuck.

    ELSTER usually makes you fill out several forms, whereas with Taxfix, you can complete the question and answer procedure in one go. In the meantime, you can switch from smartphone to app and back - your data is constantly synchronised.

    We also point out deductible costs that you might have missed. Combined with the plausibility check for your entries, nothing stands in the way of your tax refund!

    Complete the question-answer flow in less than half an hour on average!

    Try it out here!

    About Taxfix

    With Taxfix, you can complete your tax returns from 2019-2022, in no time at all. No tax knowledge is necessary – simply choose to complete your Taxfix tax return yourself, or have an independent tax advisor do it for you. What are you waiting for?

    Start now