Your guide to student tax deductions: Expenses you can claim

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Did you know that learners can be eligible to make study-related expense claims at tax time?

Now is the time to make sure you have everything organised when it comes to student tax deductions. Knowing what’s what when it comes to tax time as a learner can ensure that you get the right amount of tax returned to you.

The first thing to know is that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will allow you to claim self-education expenses if your course matches certain criteria. Your training should:

  • maintain or improve the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment, or
  • result in, or is likely to result in, an increase in your income from your current employment.

Keep in mind that to claim tax deductions in a particular financial year, you must have incurred the expenses within the dates of that financial year. Planning your study-related spending strategically can help maximise your deductions.

If you’re not currently a student but you’ve been considering taking up extra training to better equip you within your existing employment or to get a pay rise, you will need enrol by June 30 of the current year to claim it in the current financial year.

So, whether you’re already studying or are considering upskilling, read on to find out what you can claim as a student at tax time.


Tax time


Student tax deductions to claim at tax time

Many students aren’t aware that they can claim anything study-related, but there are a bunch of course-related expenses that are tax deductible. Here are some of the key expenses to consider:

1. Course fees

Your course fees are a tax deduction, as long as your training meets the ATO’s self-education criteria we mentioned earlier.

2. Stationery

Who doesn’t like to have nice stationery?! Stay organised with a yearly planner, keep your notes and things you learn in a dedicated notebook, get yourself a good quality reliable pen… There are many stationery items students need, so don’t forget to keep your receipts and claim them on tax.

3. Computer decline value and repairs

A computer is an essential study tool. While you’re a student you can claim your computer’s depreciation and any repairs you might need on it.

4. Home office expenses

A study environment can be incredibly useful to make the most of your study time. Your home office or study set up for your course can include a range of tax deductible items like a printer, paper, internet access and software.

5. Choose wisely for the best result

Tax and financial matters can be confusing but choosing a well-regarded tax professional can make it easy for you. Get the best result from your tax return with the guidance of someone who knows tax inside and out, and you can claim their fee on tax.


Thinking about tax deductions


Be ready for tax time

A little organisation goes a long way when it comes to maximising your tax deductions — and that could mean more money back in your bank account.

It’s worth considering putting together a system that will help you keep on top of your income and expenses. This might be using an app, a physical filing system like a plastic sleeve folder, or organising folders on your computer or email.

If you’re wondering what sorts of things you will be filing and keeping track of, here’s an idea:

PAYG Payment Summaries:

These used to be called group certificates, and they are a document provided to you by your employer that outlines how much money you earned, how much tax was withheld and how much superannuation you were paid.

Previous tax returns:

It’s good to keep track of your earnings and tax records, and tax returns can show you how much tax you have been getting back each year.

Bank statements:

Matching up receipts and invoices to your bank statements is called doing a bank reconciliation. This ensures you are across all the money going in and out of your bank account. It can help you to spot any unusual or unexpected charges too.

Receipts for relevant expenses:

If you make a purchase that is study or work-related, you may be able to claim them as tax deductions when you lodge your tax return. Keep reading for more on which receipts you might want to keep. The end of financial year isn’t quite upon us yet, so if you have been thinking about upskilling in early childhood education, there’s no time like the present.


At Practical Outcomes, early childhood education is our area of expertise and training others in this sector is what we do best. Reach out for more information about how to get started.


Note: This information provides a general overview of student tax deductions and is not a substitute for professional taxation advice. For personalised guidance, consider reaching out to the ATO or a qualified tax professional to discuss how these deductions apply to your unique situation.


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