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IT professionals expenses R–S

Last updated 11 June 2023

Details on claiming common IT professional expenses.

Removal and relocation expenses

You can’t claim a deduction for the cost to transfer or relocate to a new work location. This is the case whether the move is a condition of your existing job or you are taking up a new job.

Example: relocating due to transfer

Caitlyn is an IT consultant in Sydney. She is temporarily transferred to a position in Newcastle for two years by her employer.

Caitlyn can't claim a deduction for her relocation costs, rent or other living expenses.

End of example

Repairs to tools and equipment

You can claim a deduction for repairs to tools and equipment you use for work. If you also use them for private purposes, you can only claim an amount for the work-related use.

Self-education expenses

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if they directly relate to your employment as an IT professional and at the time the expense is incurred it:

  • maintains or improves the skills and knowledge you need for your current duties
  • results in or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

You can't claim a deduction if the self-education expense if at the time the expense is incurred:

  • doesn't have a connection with your current employment
  • only relates in a general way to your current employment
  • enables you to get employment or change employment.

If your self-education expenses are deductible, you can claim expenses such as course or tuition fees, student and amenities fees, textbooks, academic journals and stationery expenses. You will also be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of any depreciating assets which cost more than $300 that you use for your work-related study.

You can't claim a deduction for the repayments you make on your study or training support loan. Study and training support loans include:

  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) (FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP)
  • VET Student Loans (VETSL)
  • Trade Support Loan Program (TSL)
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS)
  • Student Start-up Loan (SSL)

While course or tuition fees may be deductible, fees you incur under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Higher Education Loan Program (HECS-HELP) scheme are not deductible.

If you have set aside a home office to do your study, you may also be able to claim work from home running expenses, but not occupancy expenses.

Example: self-education expenses

Peter is responsible for the maintenance of the existing infrastructure network for his employer's business. Part of his duties are to manage and mitigate cyber security risks.

Peter is studying a Graduate Certificate in Business Cyber Security.

As the study is being undertaken to improve the skills and knowledge that Peter requires to carry out his duties, Peter can claim a deduction for all of the costs associated with his course.

End of example

 

Example: no reimbursement for costs

Lei-shun is an information and security assurance manager. Lei-shun is undertaking a Masters degree in Information Technology (Professional). Lei-shun defers the course fees with HELP.

As the university that offers the course is a long way from where Lei-shun lives, he completes the course online. However, he has to attend the university in person for 5 consecutive days each semester. It's likely he'll receive a promotion if he successfully obtains his degree.

Lei-shun doesn't receive a reimbursement for his expenses from his employer.

Lei-shun can't claim a deduction for the HELP fees but he can claim a deduction for the cost of travel to and from his place of education for 5 nights each semester. This includes the cost of his overnight accommodation, meals and incidentals.

End of example

 

Example: self-education expenses you can't claim

Louis is a computer science student. His studies focus on system analysis, software design and programming. Louis also works at the university laboratory installing computers.

Louis can't claim a deduction for the costs associated with his studies as his course and job are only generally related.

His work at the university laboratory only needs a low-level of computer knowledge that Louis had prior to his employment. The high-level professional skills Louis acquires from the course are well beyond the skills required for his current job. Louis is undertaking the course to get future employment.

End of example

Seminars, conferences and training courses

You can claim for the cost of seminars, conferences and training courses that relate to your work as an IT professional.

The costs you can claim includes fares to attend the venue where the seminar, conference or training course is held and registration costs. If you need to travel and stay away from home overnight to attend such an event, you can also claim the cost of accommodation and meals.

You may not be able to claim all of your expenses if attending a seminar, conference or training course is for both work-related and private purposes. If the private purpose is incidental, such as a catered lunch or a reception for delegates, you can still claim all your expenses. However, if the main purpose is not work-related, such as attending a conference while on a holiday, you can only claim the direct costs. Direct costs include the registration costs.

Where you have a dual purpose for attending the seminar, conference or training course, for example you add a holiday of one week to a training course that runs for one week, then you can only claim the work-related portion.

Example: claiming conference expenses

Kostas, a systems engineer, attends a conference on cloud computing organised by a number of the major computer companies at a venue away from his normal place of work.

The conference keeps him across new and emerging technology. The cost of attending is $500 including entrance fees, travel to and from the conference, accommodation and meals.

Kostas can claim a deduction for the expenses he incurs for the conference. The course relates to his work as a systems engineer.  

End of example

 

Example: conference expenses

Vivian is responsible for the security and reliability of the operational infrastructure. This is for all servers, networks, firewalls, voice systems and remote access services of a multinational finance firm.

She attends a 6 day work-related conference in Mauritius on associated security technologies to address privacy and consumer risks. A sight-seeing tour of the island is held on the final afternoon of the conference.

As the main purpose of her trip is to attend the work-related conference, Vivian can claim a deduction for the total cost of the conference including airfares, accommodation and meals.

End of example

For more IT professional expenses, see:

QC26103