Know Your Rights: Tax relief on tuition fees

My brother and I have started in third-level college this year. Can my parents claim any tax relief on our fees?

The cost of supporting children through third level education places a significant financial strain on many Irish families. However, your parents may be able to claim tax relief on your tuition fees, including the Student Contribution (sometimes called the registration fee), provided you are enrolled in an approved course in an approved institution.

All courses provided by publicly funded universities, colleges and institutes of higher education (PDF) in Ireland are approved for the purposes of tax relief. With respect to private institutions, the Revenue Commissioners publish a list of approved colleges and courses ahead of the commencement of each academic year. Currently, you can claim tax relief on tuition fees for:

  • Full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in both private and publicly funded third-level colleges in approved colleges in Ireland or in any EU member state. The course must be for at least two years’ duration.
  • Postgraduate courses in private and publicly funded colleges in Ireland as well as universities and publicly funded colleges in other countries (EU and non-EU). Postgraduate courses must be between one and four years in duration and students must already have a primary degree or equivalent qualification.
  • Foreign language and IT courses that are less than two years’ duration and which result in the award of a certificate of competence. The course fees paid must not be less than €315 and not more than €1,270.

Tax relief is provided at the standard rate of 20%. Before you can claim relief, you must have paid the fees, either on your own behalf or on behalf of another person. There is no limit on the number of people you can claim for. The maximum amount of fees, including the Student Contribution that can qualify for tax relief is €7,000 per person per course.

For a full-time student for the academic year commencing 1 August 2020, there is no tax relief on the first €3,000 spent on tuition fees, including the Student Contribution. Similarly, there is no tax relief on the first €1,500 spent on tuition fees for part-time students. If you are claiming for more than one student, you will get full tax relief on tuition fees for the second or subsequent students.

You can claim tax relief on tuition fees using Revenue’s myAccount service. Alternatively you can download an application form from and return the completed form to your Revenue office.

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