Tax deductions for learners

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

End of financial year has arrived, which means it’s tax time for 2019/2020. If you are currently studying an aged care course or early childhood education course, it’s worth knowing what study-related expenses you can claim as tax deductions.

With the COVID-19 pandemic seeing more studying and working from home than ever before, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has fresh information about home-related expenses you should be aware of that could mean more money back in your pocket.

Studying and tax time

The Australian Tax Office makes it clear that you can claim many self-education deductions when you’re a student, as long as the course you are studying:

  • Improves the skills and knowledge required for your current employment
  • Is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment (For example, a promotion or pay rise).

Note: Students who apply before June 30 could claim this financial year. Of course, some of your study-related expenses will be able to be claimed at this EOFY, while others may pop up in the 2020/21 financial year to follow.

Tax deductions to claim as a student

Gaining qualifications or upskilling to take your current career in aged care or early childhood education to the next level is an investment in your future. As part of your training journey you are likely to incur a few study-related expenses along the way. Hopefully you have been tracking your expenses and keeping receipts (if you didn’t this year, make sure you get a system in place to save yourself money in the next financial year).

Expenses that are directly related to your study that you might be able to claim as tax deductions include:

  • Your course fees (only if you paid them yourself)
  • Textbooks
  • Phone calls
  • Internet connection and usage (if you’re studying online)
  • Stationery such as planner, highlighters, notebooks and pens
  • Computer consumables including printer cartridges
  • Trade, professional or academic journals

Work and study claims during the COVID-19 pandemic

As a result of COVID-19, work circumstances have changed for many. This means that as well as claiming expenses as a student, you might have further deductions available to claim if you have been working from home.

If you’re usually working from an office or elsewhere then working from home may have resulted in some additional costs. Being at home more means using heating, lighting and even furniture more, and these things can add up.

The Australian Tax Office understands that tracking work from home-related expenses can be tricky, so they have introduced a ‘shortcut method’ from 1 March until 30 June, 2020. This means employees working from home can claim 80 cents per hour for each hour you work from home during the period 1 March to 30 June 2020. These expenses may include:

  • phone expenses
  • internet expenses
  • the decline in value of equipment and furniture
  • electricity and gas for heating, cooling and lighting.

Keep in mind, if you were already working from home in some capacity prior to 1 March, will need to use one of the existing methods to calculate your deduction for the period 1 July 2019 to 29 February 2020.

Claiming tax deductions can be confusing, so if you are unsure, it’s always best to check with a tax professional who can advise you on what you can claim based on your individual circumstances. Getting right at tax time can save you money, so make sure you’re in the know of what you can are eligible for!

The information above is general information only and does not constitute professional advice. Get in touch with the ATO or a tax professional to learn more about how this information applies to your individual circumstances.

 

If you’re interested in studying an early childhood education or aged care course in the new financial year, contact us today!

 

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