Your current employment and the course you undertake must have sufficient connection for your self-education expenses to qualify as a work-related tax deduction. If a course of study is too general in terms of your current income-earning activities, the necessary connection between the self-education expense and your income-earning activity does not exist.
- You are upgrading your qualifications for your current employment – for example, upgrading from a Bachelor qualification to a Masters qualification.
- You are improving specific skills or knowledge used in your current employment – for example, a course that will allow you to operate more machinery at work.
- You are employed as a trainee and you are undertaking a course that forms part of that traineeship – for example, an overseas trained person employed as an intern while doing a bridging course.
- You can show that at the time you were working and studying, your course led, or was likely to lead, to an increase in employment income – for example, a teacher who will automatically get a pay increase as a result of completing the course..
Louis is a computer science student who works at the university laboratory installing computers. The course and the job are generally related, and what Louis learns might help him in his job.
However, the high level professional skills Louis acquires are well beyond the skills required for his current job and employment. Consequently, there is not sufficient connection between his job and his course, and he cannot claim a deduction for work-related self-education expenses.
Expenses you can claim
Provided you meet one of the eligibility requirements you are you eligible to claim the following self-education expenses as an allowable tax deductions:
- Tuition fees, including fees payable under FEE-HELP (this does not include expenses paid under HECS-HELP)
- Self-education expenses paid with your OS-HELP loan
- Textbooks, professional and trade journals
- Computer expenses
- Student union fee
- Student services and amenities fees
- Accommodation and meals, where the course requirements require you to be away from home for one or more nights
- Running expenses if you have a room set aside for self-education purposes – such as the cost of heating, cooling and lighting that room while you are studying in it
- Allowable travel expenses.
Specific expenses you cannot claim
You cannot claim a tax deduction for the following expenses:
- Self-education expenses such as tuition fees paid to an education provider by you or the Australian Government under HECS-HELP
- The cost of accommodation and meals associated with day-to-day living expenses
- Repayments you make (whether compulsory or voluntary) on debts you may have under the following loan schemes
- VET FEE-HELP