Education Tax Refund

The Education Tax Refund (ETR) is a tax offset that helps with the cost of educating primary and secondary school children.

From 1 July 2009, eligible parents, carers, legal guardians and independent students can claim the Education Tax Refund for eligible education spending from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.

That means you could get 50% back on a range of primary and secondary school education expenses. This includes items like computers, educational software, textbooks and stationery.

Am I eligible? You can claim the Education Tax Refund (ETF)

  • if you had eligible education expenses during the financial year for a child and
  • the child must be in primary or secondary school and
  • You received Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A for the child or
  • A payment was made for the child that stopped you from receiving FTB Part A for that child or
  • Your child stopped full time school during the year and received income over the cut-out amount which stopped you from receiving FTB Part A for the child

Payments that prevent you from receiving FTB Part A, but which still entitle you to receive the ETR include:

  • Youth Allowance
  • Disability Support Pension
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme, and
  • the scheme to provide education and training under s258 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

If you are an independent student attending secondary school or a secondary course of education provided at an educational institution such as a TAFE, you may also be eligible.

How much can I claim?

The maximum you can claim for the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 is 50% of eligible education expenses up to:

  • $750 for each eligible child in primary school – that is a refund of up to $375
  • $1,500 for each eligible child in secondary school – that is a refund of up to $750

If you have more than one child, you can combine the limit for each child to maximize your entitlement.

If your expenses is over you refund limit for the year, any excess can go towards your following year’s refund claim, as long as you are still eligible.

What items can I claim?

Eligible education expenses include the cost of buying, establishing, repairing and maintaining any of the following items:

  • computer repairs
  • computer-related equipment such as printers, USB flash drives, as well as disability aids to assist in the use of computer equipment for students with special needs
  • home internet connections
  • laptop computers and home computers
  • computer software for educational use
  • school textbooks and other printed learning material, including prescribed textbooks, associated learning materials, study guides and stationery, and
  • prescribed trade tools for secondary school trade courses.

What items can’t I claim?

The type of items you can’t claim include:

  • school fees
  • school uniform expenses
  • student attendance at school-based extra curricular activities such as excursions and camps
  • tutoring costs
  • sporting equipment
  • musical instruments
  • school subject levies – for example, payment for consumables for particular subjects such as woodwork, art or home science
  • building levies
  • library book fees
  • school photos
  • donations
  • tuck shop expenses
  • waiting list fees
  • transport
  • membership fees, and
  • computer games and consoles.

Remember to keep your receipts as they will help you calculate your entitlement and you may be required to produce them as proof of purchase.

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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.