Claim Your Self-Education Tax Deduction On Your Course



Online courses are a great way to build on your knowledge, learn new skills and progress your career. The good news is they can also be tax deductible.

That being said, there are a few rules to know when claiming self-education expenses. The course that you are enrolled in must be related to your current occupation. If you are studying a course that is intrinsic to your career pathway, read on to learn more about the finer details of what you can and can’t claim.

Am I eligible for the self-education tax deduction?

When it comes to a self-education tax deduction for students, the Australian Government has set out clear guidelines on the ways in which a course can be eligible. No matter what you’re studying, your self-education should do one of the following:

  • Maintain or improve the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment activities (as described in your job description)
  • Result in, or will likely result in, an increase to your current salary
  • You are a trainee and the course is part of the traineeship

For example, you are working as a human resources officer and have decided to undertake the Diploma of Human Resource Management (BSB50320) to back up your work-based experience with a qualification. You are improving specific skills or knowledge used in your current employment and therefore will be able to claim the self-education tax deduction.

You can’t claim self-education expenses for a course if: 

  • It doesn’t have a sufficient connection to your current job
  • You are not currently employed
  • It’s only generally relevant or irrelevant to your current job
  • It helps you to get a new job 

For example, you are a builder’s labourer and want to study the Certificate IV in Project Management (BSB40920). You want to study this qualification so that you can get a new job. As the course does not relate to your current employment and will enable you to gain new employment, you are not eligible to claim the self-education tax deduction.

What can’t I claim?

You can’t claim these self-education expenses:

  • Course, conference or seminar fees paid by your employer or someone else
  • Repayments of study and training support loans – HECS-HELP, VET Student Loans, etc.
  • Home office occupancy expenses
  • Accommodation and meals (unless required by your study)
  • The first $250 of self-education expenses incurred before 1 July 2022

What can I claim?

There are many things that you can claim through the self-education tax deduction scheme if you are eligible. Below is a brief overview of some of the things you can claim:

  • Course, conference or seminar fees
  • Equipment or equipment repairs
  • Software, USB sticks, hard drives or computer accessories
  • Home office running costs – electricity, internet, heating, etc.
  • Stationery
  • Textbooks
  • Decline in value for depreciating assets – computer, desk, etc.
  • Interest on loans used to pay for self-education expenses

For example, you bought a laptop for $1,500 on 27 May 2023. You use it 80% of the time to study and 20% of the time for browsing social media and playing games. Since the life of a laptop is three years (according to the ATO), you can claim $1,200 back over the effective life of the laptop (80% of $1,500 = $1,200). 

How much can I get back?

Let’s say you earn $80,000 per year and have to pay $18,067 in income tax. If your course costs $2,995 and you have an extra $500 to claim in studying expenses, you can deduct $3,495 from your taxable income. Therefore, your taxable income will be reduced to $76,505 and you’ll only need to pay $16,861 in income tax.

So: $80,000 (salary) – $3,495 (self-education expenses) = $76,505 (new taxable income)

You can work out what this looks like by adding up your self-education expenses and inputting it as an annual tax deduction in the pay calculator tool: 

How to claim your self-education tax expenses

For more information on claiming self-education expenses, simply head to the ATO website. You’ll find out everything you need to know, as well as free calculator tools to determine your eligibility and the items you can claim back.

While choosing to study can seem like a daunting and expensive undertaking, knowing how it benefits you and what you can claim back will give you the confidence you need.

Ready to take your next step? Contact one of our career advisors today to run through all of our adult education courses and help you choose the right one for you.

What could you be eligible for this tax time?

Find out what self-education expenses you may be eligible for with our tax calculator.