Students and the unemployed
If you had a period of unemployment in the course of the year, the threshold for your own liability for commuting expenses is reduced.
If you are a student, commuting cannot be deducted unless you commute to work.
Months of unemployment reduce the non-deductible threshold
If you have been unemployed during the year, you cannot claim commuting expenses for the months concerned: you can only claim them for the months when you worked.
Travel/commuting does not result in a tax deduction unless the expense is higher than your annual threshold amount i.e. your own liability. However, you must report the entire expenses: you must include the amount treated as your own liability in the amount you claim. The Tax Administration takes the own liability threshold into consideration when assessing your taxes.
Months of unemployment reduce the threshold and give you a higher deduction. The normal own-liability threshold (€750) is reduced by 70 euros for each full month of unemployment. For purposes of this tax rule, 21.5 days of unemployment make up a full month. However, the lowest possible threshold is €140.
The payers of unemployment allowance give the Tax Administration details on the length of people's unemployment. We make use of this information when we assess your taxes and deductions. The number of days when unemployment allowance has been paid to you is printed on the Specification section of your Pre-Completed Tax Return.
Example: Antti was out of work from January 1 – March 31. However, he got a job April 1 that continued up to September 30. After this he was again unemployed October 1 to December 31. His commuting cost was €80 per month — this is the price of an unlimited-ride bus pass. As a result, for six months of work, Antti can claim 6 × €80.00 = €480.00
An official notice arrives to the Tax Administration from the organization that pays Antti unemployment relief: the period when he was unemployed and received relief was 132 days. Consequently, when we assess Antti's taxes and deductions for the year, we will reduce his own liability for commuting expenses (132 days / 21.5 days = 6.14 months).
This way, the threshold goes down by €420 ( = 6 months × €70 ), and the adjusted amount is €330 ( = €750 - €420 ). Antti's deduction is €150 ( €480 - €330 ).
Note: No deductions are given for travel/commuting expenses that you pay when you deal with your unemployment payments, and when you look for a new job. Deductions are only given for going to a place of work.
Commuting expenses for labour market training
If you have been ordered by a TE office participate in labour market training, you are paid a special allowance for it. You can deduct commuting expenses from your allowance. Expenses for travel between your home and the place where the training is held are deductible as commuting expenses.
You may receive an expense allowance during your training. This allowance is intended to pay for your travel and meal costs as well as your accommodation, if the training takes place outside your home municipality. Half of the expense allowance is considered to cover commuting expenses. If you receive this expense allowance, deduct half of the allowance from your travel expenses for the year before you enter them in your tax return.
Example: Antti signed up for a labour market training programme. Commuting to the required classes has cost him €1,000. He received €450 as expense allowance. He reports €775 as travel expenses either in MyTax or on Form 1A (€1,000 – €450/2).
Antti is unemployed, which means that his credit threshold for travel expenses is €400 instead of the usual €750. Therefore, he gets a travel expense deduction of €775 – €400 = €375.
You cannot deduct expenses for commuting to training or classes that you have taken voluntarily if you also receive unemployment benefit.
No deductions for commuting to educational institutions
If you are a student, you are not allowed deductions for your trips between your home and the location of the institution where you are a student. You may claim expenses only if they have to do with work.
You become eligible for claiming commuting expenses if you have a summertime job or a 'student job' where you work in addition to pursuing your studies. If your studies require that you work as a trainee, the commuting expenses are deductible on the condition that you are getting paid for your traineeship. If you work as a trainee but don't get paid, you cannot get a deduction.
Your own liability is 750 euros. You should only claim the expenses if they go over the threshold of the taxpayer's own liability. However, when claiming expenses, report them in full; do not subtract the threshold yourself, because the Tax Administration takes it into consideration automatically when assessing your taxes and deductions.