Education Tax Refund – what you need to know

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12 / Jan / 2012



The education tax refund (ETR) helps eligible families and independent students meet the cost of primary and secondary school education.

You can claim the ETR for education expenses you incur while your child attends primary or secondary school.

Families and approved care organisations can claim 50% of their eligible educational expenses if either of the following apply:

• they were entitled to receive family tax benefit (FTB) Part A for the child

• a payment was made for the child that stopped them from receiving FTB Part A for that child.

Independent students may also be eligible to claim the ETR.

If your expenses exceed your refund limit for the year, any excess can go towards your following year’s refund claim, as long as you are still eligible.

Items that are eligible education expenses

Eligible education expenses are items that support a child’s or independent student’s primary or secondary school education. They include the purchase, lease, hire or hire-purchase costs, repairs and running costs of:

• laptops, home computers and associated costs

• computer-related equipment such as printers, USB flash drives, as well as disability aids to help in the use of computer equipment for students with special needs

• home internet connections, including the costs of establishing and maintaining them

• computer software for educational use

• word processing, spreadsheet, database and presentation software, internet filters and antivirus software

• school textbooks and other paper-based school learning material, including prescribed textbooks, associated learning materials, study guides and stationery

• prescribed trade tools – for example, tools required to complete a school-based apprenticeship.

Expenses that are not eligible

Education expenses that are not eligible include:

• school fees

• school uniform expenses – however, you will be able to claim these in your 2012 tax return due to a recent law change

• student attendance at school-based extra curricular activities, such as excursions and camps

• tutoring costs

• sporting equipment

• musical instruments

• school subject levies – for example, payment for materials for particular subjects such as woodwork, art or home science

• building levies

• library book fees

• school photos

• donations

• tuck shop expenses

• waiting list fees

• transport

• membership fees

• computer games and consoles

Items of clothing including hats, footwear and sports uniforms approved by a school as its uniform may be claimed from 1 July 2012.

How much you can claim

The ETR is 50% of eligible education expenses you incurred.

For the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, you can claim up to:

• $794 for each eligible child in primary school – that is, a refund of $397

• $1,588 for each eligible child in secondary school – that is, a refund of $794.

Source: ATO