Non-deductible threshold removed for self education expenses
The $250 non-deductible threshold for work-related self education expenses has now been removed with the recent passing of legislation. This deduction limit was an artefact from when the self education deduction measure was first introduced and no longer served its original purpose. Now that it has been repealed, individual taxpayers only need to consider the deductibility of their self education expenses by reference to s 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997). The repeal of the non-deductible threshold will apply to assessments for the 2022–2023 income year and onwards, and does not affect types of self education expenses that were already deductible.
Self-education expenses are generally deductible if there is a sufficient connection with the taxpayer’s income-producing activities; however, the amount of deduction was previously limited by s 82A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936) so that only the excess over $250 was deductible. This deduction limit was an artefact from when the self education deduction measure was first introduced more than four decades ago, which occurred alongside a long-repealed concessional tax rebate of $250. In essence, the original intention of the deduction limit was to ensure that taxpayers did not receive both the tax rebate and a tax deduction for the same set of expenses.
Given that the $250 non-deductible threshold for work-related self education expenses no longer served its original purpose and only adds compliance complexity and costs for individuals, stakeholders unanimously supported its removal in Treasury consultation.
Now that the non-deductible threshold for work-related self education expenses has been removed, individual taxpayers only need to consider the deductibility of their self education expenses by reference to s 8-1 of the ITAA 1997. This means that individuals can claim a deduction for self education expenses if the following applies:
• the expenditure is incurred in gaining or producing their assessable income;
• the expense is not private, domestic or capital in nature; and
• the deduction is not prevented by a provision of ITAA 1997.
With the repeal of s 82A of ITAA 1936, previous expenses, such as childcare expenses and travel expenses, that were not considered to be generally deductible but may still have been expenses for self education and used to reduce the $250 non-deductible threshold, can no longer be deducted if the expenditure does not meet the requirements under s 8-1 of ITAA 1997.
The repeal of the non-deductible threshold will also not affect the types of self education expenses that are deductible. For example, the costs of textbooks, stationery and professional journals will still be deductible, while certain student contributions and payments to reduce HELP, financial supplement and other higher education debts will remain non-deductible. Similarly, self education expenses incurred before commencing an occupation or to obtain a new occupation will remain non-deductible.
If you would like to know more please contact one of our accountants on 07 4639 1099 or come in and see us at 4 Bowen Street Toowoomba.