Below is a summary of the situations where a deduction for self education expenses can be claimed as a tax deduction
What are self-education expenses?
Self-education expenses are expenses that you incur when you undertake a work-related course to obtain a formal qualification from a school, college, university or other place of education.
The course must have a sufficient connection to your current employment, that is, the course:
- maintains or improves the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment, or
- results in, or is likely to result in, an increase in your income from your current employment.
You can only claim self-education expenses that related to your work as an employee at the time you were studying.
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:
- might be generally related to it
- enables you to get new employment or commence a new income-earning activity (new business)
For this reason, self-education expenses are not automatically deductible simply because you have a part-time job or even a full-time job in the same field as your study.
What can I claim?
If you are eligible to claim a deduction for your self-education expenses, use the following information to work out what you can and cannot claim.
You can claim:
- expenses such as course fees, textbooks, stationery, photocopying and student union fees
- the cost of meals if, as a result of your self-education, you had to temporarily leave your home for one or more nights
- home office expenses
- expenses for travelling
- from your home to your place of education and back
- from your workplace to your place of education and back
- the first leg of each trip from your
- to your place of education and then to your workplace, or - – to your place of education and then home, and
- the decline in value (depreciation) of your computer. Note, the effective life of a laptop is 3 years, and 4 years for a desktop
- your tuition fees payable under FEE-HELP provided there was a direct connection between the course and your work activities at the time you incurred the debt
When am I not eligible?
You are not eligible to claim a tax deduction for your self-education expenses if:
- you are not earning income relevant to the type of study you are undertaking
- you were only working casually to support yourself whilst studying and cannot show the subject or subjects are relevant to the duties you currently perform
- the only income you received was from youth allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY or similar payments providing financial assistance.
- the repayments you made on loans you have with the
- Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
- Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), and
- the cost of meals generally, except where described above.
$250 non-deductible amount
Please note that the first $250 of self-education expenses is not deductible.
However, you may have other types of expenses – some of which are not allowable as a deduction that can be offset against the $250 before you have to reduce the amount you can claim for allowable expenses such as
- child care costs related to attendance at lectures or other self-education activities, or
- capital cost of items acquired and used for self-education purposes – for example, a computer or desk.
For further information, you can refer to the following ATO websites
This article has been prepared for the purposes of general information and guidance only. It should not be used for specific advice or used for formulating decisions under any circumstances. If you would like specific advice about your own personal circumstances please contact our office.