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.
- You are a nurse and attend a conference of nursing professionals dedicated to extending professional knowledge in your chosen field of nursing. This maintains your skills in your chosen field of endeavor and is connected to your current income earning activities. You will be able to claim a tax deduction for attending the conference, and all related costs (see below).
- You are a nurse and wish to train to become a doctor. You commence a medical degree. This opens up new income earning opportunities in the future and the cost of the course is incurred too soon to be regarded as being incurred in earning your assessable income. The costs of the medical degree will not be tax deductible.
What can I claim?
You can claim the following expenses in relation to your self-education:
- accommodation and meals (if away from home overnight)
- computer consumables
- course or tuition 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)
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 where not sleeping away from home