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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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
- home office running costs
- internet usage (excluding connection fees)
- parking fees (only for work-related claims)
- phone calls
- student union fees
- student services and amenities fees
- 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
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.
- 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.