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myTax 2023 Work-related self-education expenses

How to complete the self-education expenses section of your return using myTax.

31 May 2023

Things to know

Complete this section to claim work-related self-education expenses that you incur to get a formal qualification from a school, college, university or other place of education.

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).

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion of an expense. You can't claim a deduction for any part of an expense that is not directly related to earning your income or that is private.

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

Changes in 2022–23

In previous years, the first $250 of a prescribed course of education expense was not deductible. myTax would work out the total amount you could claim.

From 1 July 2022, the Australian Government has removed the exclusion of the first $250 of deductions for prescribed courses of education.

MyTax will calculate your work-related self-education expenses for you, taking this law change into account.

You can claim

To claim a deduction for self-education expenses, you must be able to show that there is a close connection between the course and your work activities at that time.

You can claim a deduction if either:

  • 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.

You can't claim a deduction if either:

  • the course relates only in a general way to your current employment or profession
  • the course 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.
     

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.

For more information about:

  • deductions for decline in value, balancing adjustments and immediate deductions for certain depreciating assets, see Guide to depreciating assets
  • deductibility of self-education expenses included by an employee, see Taxation Ruling TR 98/9 – Income tax: deductibility of self-education expenses incurred by an employee or a person in business.

Related page

Claiming deductions
How to claim deductions in your return using myTax.

You can't claim

  • Any deductions against government assistance payments, including Austudy, ABSTUDY and youth allowance.
  • Course fees 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).
     

Do not show at this section

Don't 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 to support your claims.

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 reason for incurring self-education expenses.
  3. From the four categories, select the Category type, and    
    • enter Your description. To assist in record keeping, add a short description of your expense.
    • for General expenses and Repair 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 work-related 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 work-related 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.
  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
https://tv.ato.gov.au/ato-tv/media?v=bd1bdiuboi7hkiExternal Link (Duration: 03:18)

You need to keep records for 5 years (in most cases) from the date you lodge your tax return.

Our myDeductions tool is free to use and is available through the ATO app. The tool makes it easier and more convenient to keep records of your expenses and income in one place, including photos of your receipts and invoices.

Further information

Four categories

The following table show 4 categories of expenses, the Category type from myTax and the types of self-education expenses to include in each.

Self-education expense categories

Row

Category type

Category description

A

General expenses

and

Car expenses (Logbook method)

Deductible general expenses including textbooks, stationery, student union fees, student services and amenities fees, course fees and public transport fares. (Don't include contributions you made under HECS-HELP or repayments under HELP, VSL, SFSS, SSL or TSL.)

Includes car expenses (other than decline in value of a car) worked out under the 'Logbook' method related to your self-education.

B

Decline in value

and

Car expenses decline in value (Logbook method)

Deductions for the decline in value of depreciating assets used for self-education, including computers.

Includes 'Decline in value' amounts for car expenses worked out under the Logbook method related to your self-education.

C

Repair expenses

Expenses for repairs to items of equipment used for self-education.

D

Car expenses where Calculation method is 'Cents per kilometre'

Car expenses related to your self-education for which you are claiming deductions under the 'Cents per kilometre' method.

If you have included deductions for the decline in value of or repairs to your car under Category type 'Decline in value' or 'Repair expenses', you can't claim car expenses under this category.

Glossary

FEE-HELP provides assistance to eligible fee-paying students, who are not supported by the Commonwealth, to pay tuition fees.

VET Student Loans provide assistance to eligible full-fee paying students doing vocational education and training (VET) accredited courses with an approved VET provider.

OS-HELP is a loan to cover expenses for eligible Commonwealth supported students who wish to study overseas towards their Australian higher education award.

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