The government’s decision to impose a $2,000 cap on tax deductions for work-related self-education expenses will impact on workers in the health and medical fields who spend considerable amounts on self-education annually. Health workers are required to undertake diverse training, in both VET and private education courses. This ensures they keep up to date with their skills, and to obtain relevant qualifications. Often training courses cost more than $2,000 per annum. However this cap doesn’t just include the cost of the training course, but other self-education costs, which were previously deductible will now need to abide by the $2,000 cap, such as self-education related computer use, cost of books and learning DVDs, and travel to and from your place of study. The Government’s cap will have a negative effect on workers in the health sector, and will impact unfairly on workers who wish to upgrade their qualifications. The AMA has asked the government to reverse this policy, as have many other professional bodies. The $2,000 doesn’t just effect the cost of study, but other study related costs. There are other expenses which may be impacted.

Can I claim computer expenses as a tax deduction? Yes, if you use a computer for study then that is tax deductible. The study needs to have a sufficient connection with your current employment for you to obtain a tax deduction. For example: If your course is keeping you up to date, improving specific skills, and may lead to an increase in salary from your current employment, then you may be eligible for a tax deduction. However, if your course is unrelated to your current employment, or related to a new field of employment, then you won’t be able to claim either the course or computer costs. If your computer is used partly for work or study purposes and partly for private use, then you can apportion your computer costs and claim a portion as an allowable tax deduction. For example, if 50 percent of your time on the computer is for personal use, and the remainder for work/study then you can claim 50 percent of the following costs:

  • Depreciation of computer
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Ink cartridge replacements
  • Paper
  • Interest payments if the computer was purchased with an interest bearing loan

What other self-education tax deductions are you eligible for ?

  • cost of course or tuition (Excluding HECS fees)
  • books, including journals and professional textbooks
  • stationery
  • photocopying
  • internet usage fees
  • student service and amenities fees
  • home office expenses
  • travel from your place of work to your place of study

Note: The $2,000 cap was intended to apply from 1 July 2013; however lobbying from various industry groups forced the Government to delay the change until July 2016.

For further information go to: Claiming self-education expenses – specific expenses to determine how much you are eligible to claim use the ATO’s  Self-Education expenses calculator