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Self-Education Expenses and Taking Advantage of Tax Time!

As the Australian financial year has just ended and we embrace the start the 2020 Australian financial year – it’s a perfect time to consider enrolling in a training course. Think about what you want to achieve in your career in the next 12 months and what training you can do to support your goals. So, what does tax time have to do with it? Well, if you enrol in a course before this financial year end, you may be able to claim your tax back for any fees that you pay in what is known as ‘Self-Education Expenses’. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows for these expenses to be claimed, provided you meet certain eligibility requirements.

‘Self-Education Expenses’ are defined as courses undertaken at an educational institution, attendance at work-related seminars or conferences, or self-paced learning and study tours (overseas or within Australia). What you get back in your tax return depends on how much you earn, the tax rate you pay, and how much you spend on training, and other deductions. This means that you won’t pay tax on expenses you claim as a deduction.

Enrolling in a course may also count towards a ‘work-related expense’, which could significantly reduce your training costs and save you money on your course fees. Even if you have already enrolled in a course that is training you within your industry, you may still be able to claim back some tax. The ATO outlines information on how to claim back tax with Self-Education Expenses. You may claim a deduction if your study is work-related or if you receive a taxable bonded scholarship, although in some cases you may have to reduce the amount of your claim by $250. To be eligible, the course must; lead to a formal qualification; have a sufficient connection to your current employment; 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.

The kind of expenses you could claim include; 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). Claims that you won’t be able to make include; 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).

The Australian government’s tax support in this area, can really assist you financially in reaching your career goals. It’s a new financial year and it’s time to arrange what training you want to undertake. If you are not sure about what training to undertake, contact us to discuss your goals and training options.

 

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