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  • myTax 2021 Work-related self-education expenses

    Complete this section to claim self-education expenses that:

    • are related to your work as an employee
    • 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:

    Things to know

    To claim a deduction for a work-related expense:

    • 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 (usually a receipt).

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

    You can claim

    Self-education expenses are deductible when the course you undertake leads to a formal qualification and met one of the following conditions at the time you incurred the expense:

    • the course maintained or improved a skill or specific knowledge required for your then current work activities
    • you could show that the course was leading to, or was likely to lead to, increased income from your then current work activities, or
    • other circumstances existed which established a direct connection between the course and your then current work activities.

    You can't claim a deduction for self-education expenses for a course that:

    • relates only in a general way to your current employment or profession, or
    • will enable 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
      • 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:
    • 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.

    Claim at this section any work-related self-education expenses incurred in earning assessable foreign employment income shown on an income statement or PAYG payment summary – foreign employment.

    If you no longer own or use an item costing over $300, and you previously claimed a deduction for its decline in value, you may need to make a balancing adjustment. See What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?

    See also:

    You can't 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)
      • Vocational Education and Training Student Loan (VSL)
      • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
      • Student Startup Loan (SSL) or
      • Trade Support Loans Program (TSL).

    $250 reduction

    Self-education expenses are broken into five categories. If all 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 when you enter and save your expenses.

    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, go to Other work-related expenses
    • Expenses you incurred in earning assessable foreign employment income that is not shown on an income statement or PAYG payment summary – foreign employment, go to Foreign employment
    • For any balancing adjustment, show your

    Any balancing adjustment amounts calculated in the Depreciation and capital allowance tool will show automatically.

    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 them and add any work-related self-education expenses that have not pre-filled.

    To claim work-related self-education expenses, you must first show income from salary and wages or foreign employment income in the Income statements and payment summaries section.

    To personalise your return to show work-related self-education expenses, at Personalise return select:

    • You had deductions you want to claim
    • Work-related expenses.

    To claim your work-related self-education expenses, at Prepare return select 'Add/Edit' at the Deductions banner.

    At the Work-related self-education expenses banner:

    1. For each work-related self-education expense that has not been pre-filled in your tax return, select Add.
    2. Select the Self-education type that best describes your circumstances at the time you incurred the expenses.
    3. 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.
        The Depreciation and capital allowances tool can help you to work out any decline in value. It can also work out any deductible balancing adjustment when you stop holding a depreciating asset. Access this tool when you add your work-related self-education expenses and select 'Decline in value'.
        Fields from this tool can't be adjusted in myTax. To make any adjustments, or to add new assets to the tool, select the 'Use the depreciating and capital allowances tool' link.
      • 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.

          The Depreciation and capital allowances tool can help you to work out any decline in value deduction. It can also work out any deductible balancing adjustment when you stop holding a depreciating asset. Access this tool when you add your work-related self-education expenses and select the 'Logbook' method.
          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.
          Fields from this tool can't be adjusted in myTax. To make any adjustments, or to add new assets to the tool, select the 'Use the depreciation and capital allowances tool' link.
    4. Select Save – myTax will work out the total amount you can claim.

      When working out what you can claim, certain costs are reduced by $250.
      If you would like to see how this is worked out, see the Self-education expenses – calculated total (XLSX, 101KB)This link will download a file calculator.
    5. Select Save and continue when you have completed the Deductions section.

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

    Media: How to use the Depreciation and capital allowance tool
    http://tv.ato.gov.au/ato-tv/media?v=bd1bdiuboi7hkiExternal Link (Duration: 03:18)

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

    See also:

      Last modified: 01 Jun 2021QC 65297