Dáil Éireann - Volume 530 - 08 February, 2001

Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

80. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Finance the assistance towards third level fees which is available in the form of tax relief for a student who is based in Dublin and doing a degree course in Belfast or for her parents; if the changes announced in the budget will assist in such cases. [3516/01]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The existing legislation provides relief at the standard rate of income tax for tuition fees, up to £2,500 in the current tax year, paid for: full-time qualifying undergraduate courses in another EU member state from 1999-2000 onwards; and full-time and part-time postgraduate courses in a university or publicly funded college in another EU member state from 2000-01 onwards.

In respect of undergraduate courses in another EU member state, a qualifying course is a course of at least two years duration in a publicly funded university or college. Courses in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry or teacher training are excluded from the relief.

For the purposes of the relief, a qualifying postgraduate course in another EU member state must be of at least one academic year, but not more than four academic years, in duration and must lead to a postgraduate award based on either a thesis or an examination. The person taking the course must already have a primary degree or an equivalent qualification.

Tuition fees paid by the individual on his-her own behalf or on behalf of a spouse, child or person for whom the individual is the legal guardian qualify for relief. Relief is not available for any part of fees which are met directly or indirectly by grants, scholarships, an employer or otherwise.

An information leaflet and application form for the above reliefs is available from the Revenue Commissioners and can also be accessed on the Revenue website @ www.revenue.ie. Persons wishing to claim the relief can do so via their local tax office.

Finally, as I indicated in my Budget Statement, tax reliefs on the payment of fees for education courses are somewhat complex and I propose to rationalise and extend their operation in the forthcoming Finance Bill.