Section 473A Relief for fees paid for third level education, etc

(1) In this section-

“academic year”, in relation to an approved course, means a year of study commencing on a date not earlier than the 1st day of August in a year of assessment;

“appropriate percentage”, in relation to a year of assessment, means a percentage equal to the standard rate of tax for that year;

“approved college”, in relation to a year of assessment, means-

(a) a college or institution of higher education in the State which-

(i) provides courses to which a scheme or schemes of grants approved by the Minister under the Student Support Act 2011, applies, or

(ii) operates in accordance with a code of standards which from time to time may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be laid down by the Minister, and which the Minister approves for the purposes of this section;

(b) any university or similar institution of higher education in a Member State of the European Union (other than the State) which-

(i) is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from public funds of that or any other Member State of the European Union (including the State), or

(ii) is a duly accredited university or institution of higher education in the Member State in which it is situated;

(c) a college or institution in another Member State of the European Union providing distance education in the State, which-

(i) provides courses to which a scheme or schemes of grants approved by the Minister under the Student Support Act 2011, applies, or

(ii) operates in accordance with a code of standards which from time to time may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be laid down by the Minister, and which the Minister approves for the purposes of this section;

(d) any university or similar institution of higher education in any country, other than the State or a Member State of the European Union which-

(i) is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from public funds of that country, or

(ii) is a duly accredited university or institution of higher education in the country in which it is situated;

“approved course” means-

(a) a full-time or part-time undergraduate course of study provided by a college to which paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of the definition of “approved college” relates which-

(i) is of at least 2 academic years’ duration, and

(ii) in the case of a course provided by a college to which paragraph (a)(ii) or (c)(ii) of the definition of “approved college” relates, the Minister, having regard to a code of standards which from time to time may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be laid down by the Minister in relation to the quality of education to be offered on such approved course, approves of for the purposes of this section;

(b) a postgraduate course of study leading to a postgraduate award, based on a thesis or on the results of an examination or both, in an approved college-

(i) of not less than one academic year, but not more than 4 academic years, in duration,

(ii) that requires an individual, undertaking the course, to have been conferred with a degree or an equivalent qualification, and

(iii) that, in the case of a course provided by a college to which paragraph (a)(ii) of the definition of “approved college” relates, the Minister, having regard to any code of standards which from time to time may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be laid down by the Minister in relation to the quality of education to be offered on such approved course, approves for the purposes of this section;

“the Minister” means the Minister for Education and Science;

“qualifying fees”, in relation to an approved course and an academic year, means the amount of fees chargeable in respect of tuition to be provided in relation to that course in that year which, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, the Minister approves of for the purposes of this section.

Amendments

Finance Act 2007 section 9(1)(d).

(2) Subject to this section, where an individual for a year of assessment proves that he or she has made a payment in respect of qualifying fees in respect of an approved course for the academic year in relation to that course commencing in that year of assessment, the income tax to be charged on the individual for that year of assessment, other than in accordance with section 16(2), shall be reduced by an amount which is the lesser of-

(a) the amount equal to the appropriate percentage of the aggregate of all such payments proved to be so made, and

(b) the amount which reduces that income tax to nil.

Amendments

Finance Act 2007 section 9(1)(d).

(3) In the case of an individual who is a married person assessed to tax for a year of assessment in accordance with section 1017, or a civil partner assessed to tax for the year of assessment in accordance with section 1031C, any payment in respect of qualifying fees made by the individual’s spouse or civil partner shall, except where section 1023or 1031H applies, be deemed to have been made by the individual.

(4) For the purposes of this section, a payment in respect of qualifying fees shall be regarded as not having been made in so far as any sum in respect of, or by reference to, such fees—

(a) has been or is to be received, directly or indirectly, by the individual or, as the case may be, the person by whom the course is being, or was, undertaken, from any source whatever by means of grant, scholarship or otherwise, or

(b) is refunded or partly refunded by an approved college.

(4A) In any claim or claims for relief under this section made by an individual in respect of qualifying fees-

(a) where the qualifying fees, or part of the qualifying fees, the subject of the claim or claims concerned relate to a full-time course or full-time courses-

(i) for the year of assessment 2013 there shall be disregarded the first €2,500 or the full amount of those fees, whichever is the lesser,

(ii) for the year of assessment 2014 there shall be disregarded the first €2,750 or the full amount of those fees, whichever is the lesser, and

(iii) for the year of assessment 2015 and each subsequent year of assessment there shall be disregarded the first €3,000 or the full amount of those fees, whichever is the lesser,

(b) where all the qualifying fees the subject of the claim or claims concerned relate only to a part-time course or part-time courses-

(i) for the year of assessment 2013 there shall be disregarded the first €1,250 or the full amount of those fees, whichever is the lesser,

(ii) for the year of assessment 2014 there shall be disregarded the first €1,375 or the full amount of those fees, whichever is the lesser, and

(iii) for the year of assessment 2015 and each subsequent year of assessment there shall be disregarded the first €1,500 or the full amount of those fees, whichever is the lesser.

(5)(a) Where the Minister is satisfied that an approved college, within the meaning of paragraph (a)(ii) or (c)(ii) of the definition of “approved college”, or an approved course in that college, no longer meets the appropriate code of standards laid down, the Minister may by notice in writing given to the approved college withdraw, with effect from the year of assessment following the year of assessment in which the notice is given, the approval of that college or course, as the case may be, for the purposes of this section.

(b) Where the Minister withdraws the approval of any college or course for the purposes of this section, notice of its withdrawal shall be published as soon as may be in Iris Oifigiúil.

(6) Any claim for relief under this section made by an individual in respect of fees paid to an approved college shall be accompanied by a statement in writing made by the approved college concerned stating each of the following, namely-

(a) that the college is an approved college for the purposes of this section,

(b) the details of the course undertaken,

(c) the duration of the course, and

(d) the amount of the fees paid in respect of the course.

Amendments

Finance Act 2007 section 9(1)(d).

(7) Where for the purposes of this section any question arises as to whether-

(a) a college is an approved college, or

(b) a course of study is an approved course,

the Revenue Commissioners may consult with the Minister.

(8) On or before 1 July in each year of assessment, the Minister shall furnish the Revenue Commissioners with full details of-

(a) all colleges and courses in respect of which approval has been granted and not withdrawn for the purposes of this section, and

(b) the amount of the qualifying fees in respect of each such course for the academic year commencing in that year of assessment.

(9) Where relief is given under this section to any individual in respect of a payment of qualifying fees, relief shall not be given under any other provision of the Income Tax Acts to that individual in respect of that payment.

Amendments

Finance Act 2007 section 9(1)(d).

(10) Where any fees that are the subject of a claim for relief under this section are refunded or partly refunded by an approved college, it shall be the duty of the individual by whom the claim is made to notify the Revenue Commissioners within 21 days of receipt of such refund that the refund has been received.