What expenses can I claim for with the Educational Tax Refund?

For each child that you have in Primary or Secondary school (up to the age of 25) you can claim your expenses on the following items:

  • computers and laptops and the expense in repairing them and updating them;
  • software to run on the computers – this includes word, excel, power point, adobe and virus protection;
  • devices used for the computer – USB keys, DVDs, CDs, external hard drives – to save information on and do backups;
  • internet connection, including the setup costs (modem) – this is usually on a pro-rata basis.  For example it may be 50 for home and 50 for school.  To can work out the amount by hours on the computer for each person or perhaps by the bytes used to download the different information.
  • school textbooks (hire or purchase), stationery (pencils, pens, folders, ruler, stapler, nikko pens, scissors, glue, rubber bands, display books, art books, etc), writing books and any other book you have purchased for your child to use at school.
  • Tools of trade – this could be tools purchased by your child if they are doing a school based apprenticeship and needed a hammer or likewise.

It is important to note that if you are claiming the expense on your tax return or you have been reimbursed for it by other means (government grant) you cannot claim it on this Educational Tax Refund (ETR).  So you should decide which is the better means of claiming it – through your tax (usually 20-30% refunded) or through the ETR (50% refunded).

Unfortunately you cannot claim the following:

  • school fees – including subject levies (for example the $10 you may have to pay for home economics);
  • school uniforms;
  • school excursions;
  • sporting equipment;
  • music instruments;
  • tutoring;
  • library book fees (including late/lost fees and the fee to bring them into the library);
  • bus fares;
  • donations and building levies (but these can be tax deductible on your income tax return);
  • school photos;
  • any membership fees (these may also be a tax deduction on your income tax return).

Make sure when you are collecting your receipts that they are dated from 01 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, and if possible don’t forget any as the tax office won’t allow you to claim forgotten receipts later (even though you can rollover money you spent above the limit – $750 for primary & $1,500 for high school)

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