It pays to learn what you can claim at tax time
When can you claim?
Self-education expenses are deductible when the course you undertake has a sufficient connection:
to your current employment and maintains or improves the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment, or
results in – or is likely to result in – an increase in your income from your current employment.
When can’t you claim?
You cannot claim a deduction for self-education for a course that:
If your self-education is eligible, you may be able to claim a deduction for your expenses directly related to undertaking the course.
Some general expenses you may be able to claim include:
tuition fees, if paid directly by you
computer consumables (eg printer cartridges)
trade, professional or academic journals
home office running costs
internet usage (excluding connection fees)
student services and amenities fees
travel costs, including car expenses, between home and the place of education and between your workplace and the place of education
fees payable on some Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans, but not the loan itself.
You can only claim a deduction for the portion of these expenses that is directly related to your eligible self-education.
You may be able to claim a deduction for depreciating assets – assets that lose value over time such as computers and printers – that you have bought and use to study.
Depreciating assets that cost more than $300 are usually claimed over the life of the asset (decline in value). However, if you have a depreciating asset that cost $300 or less – you can get a deduction for the full cost of the asset to the extent that you used it for study in the tax year you bought it. (see Apportioning expenses).
If you are undertaking a course that has a direct connection to your current employment, you can also claim the cost of daily travel from your:
home to your place of education and back
work to your place of education and back.
However, you cannot claim the cost of the last stage of your travel from:
You cannot claim the following expenses related to your self-education:
repayments of loans you obtained under the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans, Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS), the Student Startup Loan (SSL) or the Trade Support Loans Program (TSL)
Some expenses need to be apportioned between private purposes and use for self-education. Travel costs and depreciating assets are good examples of expenses that may need to be apportioned.
Use of equipment
If you use equipment such as computers and printers both privately and for study, you must apportion the expense based on the percentage you use the equipment for study.
For example, if a computer is used 50% of the time for study and 50% for private purposes, you can only claim half of the cost of the computer as a deduction. (For more information on asset expenses, see the Depreciating assets section on the previous page).
Recording your expenses
Use our self-education expense calculator (ato.gov.au/selfeducationcalc) to get an estimate of your self-education deductions. It also provides information on your claim eligibility.
Records you need to keep may include receipts or other documents showing expenses such as:
decline in value of, and repairs to, depreciating assets.
You must also keep receipts, documents or diary entries for travel expenses.
The ATO app’s myDeductions tool (ato.gov.au/myDeductions) can be used to record your self-education expenses.
Calculating your expenses
In certain circumstances, you may have to reduce your self-education expenses by up to $250 to work out your deduction.
The Self-education expenses calculator (ato.gov.au/ selfeducationcalc) on the ATO website works this out for you.