Tax breaks for study expenses

15 November 2010

Professor Michael Dirkis comments on the landmark decision by the High Court which could pave the way for a quarter of a million students to claim tax breaks for study expenses in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.

The court ruled on 11 November 2010 that 25-year old Symone Anstis, who received a youth allowance and worked part-time in retail while studying teaching at the Australian Catholic University, was entitled to claim $920 in self-education expenses including textbooks and travel.

Professor Dirkis said the ruling confirmed the availabiltiy of tax deductions for students working part-time as clerks in accounting and law firms, or as trade apprentices.

Where it was "essentially a condition of (employment) that you undertake a particular course of study," the ruling confirm by extension that an education-related tax deduction would be available, Professor Dirkis said.

The decision went further, and could catch expenses incurred by students working part-time in a field related to their studies, even if course enrolment was not a prerequisite of their employment.

"In those circumstances, the courts seem to say that provided (the course of study) makes you more efficient at your job...and enables you to go on and potentially earn more income at a future date, that is sufficient," Professor Dirkis said.

Contact: Greg Sherington

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