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  • myTax 2019 Work-related self-education expenses

    You may be able to claim self-education expenses that are related to your work as an employee, and that you incur when you do a course to get a formal qualification from a school, college, university or other place of education.

    On this page:




    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Remember, to claim a work-related deduction:

    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
    • it must be directly related to earning your income
    • you must have a record to prove it.

    If your total claim for work-related expenses is more than $300, you must have written evidence to prove your claims.

    When can you claim?

    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 work activities as an employee and:

    • maintain or improve the specific skill or knowledge required in your current work activities or
    • result in, or was likely to result in, an increase in income from your current work activities.

    You cannot claim a deduction for self-education expenses for a course that does not have a sufficient connection to your current work activities even though it:

    • might be generally related to it, or

    enables you to get new employment.If you meet the conditions, you can claim the following self-education expenses:

    • your expenses such as textbooks, stationery, student union fees, student services and amenities fees, course fees, and the decline in value of your computer (apportioned depending on private use and use for self-education)
    • accommodation and meals (where course requirements require you to be away from home overnight)
    • your tuition fees payable under:
    • FEE-HELP
    • VET Student Loans
    • self-education expenses you paid with your OS-HELP loan
    • expenses for your travel in either direction between  
      • your home and your place of education
      • your workplace and place of education.

        Note: Only the first leg of the trip is deductible if you went from home to your place of education and then to work, or the other way around. However, you may be able to offset the cost of the last leg of your travel against the $250 reduction.

    See also:

    You cannot claim

    • Any deductions against government assistance payments, including Austudy, ABSTUDY and youth allowance.
    • For contributions you, or the Australian Government, make under HECS-HELP or repayments you make under the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), the Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS), the Student Startup Loan (SSL) or the Trade Support Loans Program (TSL).

    $250 reduction

    Self-education expenses are broken into five categories. If all of your self-education expenses are 'category A' items then your deduction is reduced by $250.

    However, 'category E' items can be used to offset the $250.

    myTax works this out for you. If you would like to see how myTax works this out, see Calculated total.

    Depreciation and capital expenses

    Individual taxpayers generally can't immediately deduct spending on assets costing more than $300; instead you claim the cost over time, reflecting the asset's depreciation (or decline in value).

    Depreciation claims need to meet the following conditions:

    • you must apportion your claim to reflect the percentage that the asset was used for work purposes.
    • you must have directly incurred the cost of the asset and it was not reimbursed.

    For more information, see Guide to depreciating assets.

    You can use the Depreciation and capital allowances tool to work out any decline in value deduction as well as any deductible balancing adjustment when you stop holding a depreciating asset.

    The tool can be accessed when you add your self-education expenses and

    • Category type is 'Decline in value', or
    • Category type is 'Car expenses' and Calculation method is 'Logbook'.

    This video shows how to use the Depreciation and capital allowances tool.

    Media: How to use the Depreciation and capital allowance tool Link (Duration: 03:18)

    You can watch How to use the Depreciation and capital allowance toolExternal Link in full screen on atoTV.

    Expenses relating to foreign employment income

    If you received assessable income from your work as an employee outside of Australia that is shown on an income statement or a PAYG payment summary - foreign employment, you must claim any work-related self-education expenses you incurred in earning that income at this section.

    Do not show at this section

    Do not show the following at this section:

    • Formal education courses provided by professional associations, seminars, education workshops or conferences connected to work. Show these at Other work-related expenses in the Deductions section.
    • Deductions against any assessable foreign employment income that is not shown on an income statement or a PAYG payment summary - foreign employment. Show these at Foreign employment in the Foreign income, assets and entities section.
    • For any balancing adjustment, show:
      • losses at Other work-related expenses in the Deductions section.
      • profits at the Other income section.

    If you used the Depreciation and capital allowance tool, any balancing adjustment amount will be automatically shown.

    Completing this section

    To complete this section, you will need written evidence such as a diary, logbook or receipts.

    We pre-fill your tax return with work-related self-education expense information you uploaded from myDeductions. Check for work-related self-education expenses not pre-filled and ensure you add them.

    For each work-related self-education expense that has not been pre-filled in your tax return, select Add.

    1. Select the Self-education type that best describes your circumstances at the time you incurred the expenses.
    2. From the five categories, select the Category type and:
      • enter Your description. To assist in record-keeping, add a short description of your expense.
      • for General expenses, Repair expenses and Non-deductible expenses enter your Amount.
      • for Decline in value enter your Decline in value, or use the Depreciation and capital allowances tool to calculate your decline in value amount.
      • for Car expenses select the Calculation method you wish to use.
        If you qualify to use both methods, you can use whichever method gives you the largest deduction or is most convenient. You can enter each in myTax to work this out. If you do, remember to delete the one you don't want to use.
        For more information on car expenses calculation methods, see Work-related car expenses.
        • If you select the 'Cents per kilometre' method, enter the number of business kilometres you travelled.
        • If you select the 'Logbook' method, enter the information into the corresponding fields. MyTax will calculate the total car expenses.
          If you have calculated the decline in value of your car, enter the amount without any reduction for personal use. MyTax will multiply the decline in value you enter by the percentage of business use.
          If you used the Depreciation and capital allowances tool to work out the decline in value, the calculated amount will automatically exclude the personal use percentage. To display results from the tool you must select the logbook method.
    3. Select Save – myTax will work out the total amount you can claim. In working out what you can claim, certain costs are reduced by $250. For more information, see Calculated total.
    4. Select Save and continue when you have completed the Deductions section.

    Note: If you used the Depreciation and capital allowances tool, fields containing information from the tool cannot be directly adjusted in myTax. To make any adjustments to this information, or to add new assets to the tool, select the 'Use the depreciation and capital allowances tool' link.

    Record keeping

    Make sure you keep accurate records of work-related self-education expenses to make future claims.

    There is more information on record keeping and written evidence in Keeping your tax records.

    Managing your deductions

    Are you always on the go? Save time and keep your tax organised with the ATO app's myDeductions tool.

      Last modified: 26 Jun 2019QC 59115