Self-education expenses

tax return what can you claim

You may be able to claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your study is work-related or if you receive a taxable bonded scholarship. In some circumstances you have to reduce the amount of your claim by $250.

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Eligible courses

Self-education expenses are deductible when the course you undertake leads to a formal qualification and meets the following conditions.

The course must have a sufficient connection to your current employment and:

  • maintain or improve the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment, or
  • result in, or is likely to result in, an increase in your income from your current employment.

You cannot claim a deduction for self-education expenses for a course that does not have a sufficient connection to your current employment even though it:

  • might be generally related to it, or
  • enables you to get new employment.

Taxable bonded scholarship recipients

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if, in doing the course, you are satisfying study requirements to maintain your right to a taxable bonded scholarship. If you are employed by the scholarship provider, normal work-related self-education rules apply.

Expenses you can claim

You can claim the following expenses in relation to your self-education:

  • accommodation and meals (if away from home overnight)
  • computer consumables
  • course fees
  • decline in value for depreciating assets (cost exceeds $300)
  • purchase of equipment or technical instruments costing $300 or less
  • equipment repairs
  • fares
  • home office running costs
  • interest
  • internet usage (excluding connection fees)
  • parking fees (only for work-related claims)
  • phone calls
  • postage
  • stationery
  • student union fees
  • student services and amenities fees
  • textbooks
  • trade, professional, or academic journals
  • travel to-and-from place of education (only for work-related claims)

Some travel for journeys cannot be claimed, but you may be able to offset the cost of these journeys against the $250 reduction .

If an expense is partly for your self-education and partly for other purposes, you can only claim the amount that relates to your self-education as a deduction.

Expenses you can't claim

You cannot claim the following expenses in relation to your self-education:

  • repayments of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans (although the fees paid by some HELP loans are)
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) repayments
  • home office occupancy expenses
  • meals (unless sleeping away from home), where not sleeping away from home

$250 reduction

Self-education expenses are broken into 5 categories. If all of your self-education expenses are 'category A' items then you have to reduce your deduction by $250.

However category 'E expenses' can be used to offset the $250.

Expenses you can offset against the $250 reduction

While you can't claim a deduction for the following expenses, they can be taken into account in determining whether you have to reduce your overall claim.

  • childcare
  • computer purchase
  • fares, travel or car expenses for these journeys:    
    • for work-related self-education, the second leg of a trip if you went from home to your place of education and then to work, or the other way around
    • if you receive a taxable bonded scholarship and are not employed by the scholarship provider, travel from home to your normal place of education and back.

Source: www.ato.gov.au

Category: Taxes

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