I’m a tradie. Can I claim the course fee that I paid to complete my course as a self-education expense?
According to the Australian Taxation office (ATO), You may be able to claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your study is work-related. In some circumstances you have to reduce the amount of your claim by $250.
What courses am I eligible claim a self-education expense for?
The ATO set out the criteria for self-education expenses, generally they 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
- you are upgrading your qualifications for your current employment
- you are employed as a trainee and you are undertaking a course that forms part of that traineeship
- you can show that at the time you were working and studying, your course led, or was likely to lead, to an increase in income from your current employment.
What type of expenses can I claim as part of my self-education expenses?
The ATO has various publications on what you can deduct, generally they list the following expenses which you can claim as a deduction for self-education:
- accommodation and meals (if away from home overnight)
- computer consumables used during your study
- course fees paid to the institute
- decline in value for depreciating assets (cost exceeds $300)
- purchase of equipment or technical instruments costing $300 or less required for your study
- equipment repairs undertaken for equipment you use as part of your course
- 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).
What other expenses can I claim?
The type and amount of deductions will very much depend on your individual circumstances and the work you do. This will also depend on your work arrangement with your employer i.e. whether you are employed on ABN or TFN. Generally, the following is a list of deductible expenses according to the ATO:
- Licenses, permits and certifications
- Clothing (must have business logo)
- Tools and equipment – purchase, lease or repairs
- Technical instruments.
- Protective items (hard hats, steel cap boots, safety glasses etc.)
- Laundry/cleaning of work clothes
- Sunscreen and sunglasses (if you work outside)
- Tablet, computer and mobile phone expenses (work related portion only)
- Work related software and computer accessories
- Home office running expenses (if applicable)
- Filing cabinets and bookshelves
- Desks, chairs and lamps
- Internet expenses (apportioned)
- Training courses, (if directly related to your current role)
- Professional libraries
- Car/vehicle expenses including parking, tolls, running expenses, fuel, km driven etc.
- Travel expenses (between sites, to pick up equipment, to training courses or meetings)
- Accommodation expenses when working away from home
- Union fees
What documents do I need to claim these expenses?
The ATO requires taxpayers to keep source documents as evidence of the expense you paid. These source documents may include tax invoices / receipts of payments or Diary or logbooks for travel.
The ATO will only allow the deduction if you paid for it, however, if your employer paid for it or you received it as part of an allowance or if you paid for it and your employer reimbursed you, you will not be eligible for a deduction.
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Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from your accountant or financial advisor.
Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on information available to the public on the ATO website at www.ato.gov.au at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.