Back to School... Claim your expenses!

Written on the 23 January 2012 by Macmillans Waller Fry - Accountants

What is it?


The Education Tax Refund (ETR) is designed to help with the cost of educating primary and secondary school children. Eligible parents, carers, legal guardians and independent students are able to claim money back on certain education expenses.

Who is Eligible?


1) Parents, Carers & Legal Guardians

You can claim the ETR if you had eligible education expenses during the financial year for a child who meets the schooling requirements, and:


  • you received Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A for the child, or;
  • a payment was made for the child which prevented you from receiving FTB Part A, or;
  • your child stopped full-time school during the year and received income over the cut-out amount which prevented you from receiving FTB Part A for the child.

You can claim the ETR even if do not get FTB Part A. Other payments which still entitle you to receive the ETR include:

  • Youth Allowance
  • Disability Support Pension
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme, and

2) Independent Primary or Secondary Student

You can claim the ETR if you have eligible education expenses and you:

receive a social security pension or benefit, a labour market program payment or a prescribed educational scheme payment including:

  • Youth Allowance
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Veterans’ Children Education Scheme and payments under the scheme to provide education and training under section 258 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004, or
  • a disability support pension

and, you:

  • are an independent person for the purpose of the payment
  • meet the schooling requirement
  • are under 25 years of age
  • are an Australian resident, and
  • live in Australia.

What Can I Claim?

Eligible expenses include the cost of buying, establishing, repairing and maintaining any of the following items:

  • home computers and laptops
  • computer-related equipment such as printers, USB flash drives, and disability aids to assist in the use of computer equipment for students with special needs
  • computer repairs
  • home internet connections
  • computer software for educational use
  • school textbooks and other printed learning material, including prescribed textbooks, associated learning materials, study guides and stationery, and
  • prescribed trade tools for secondary school trade courses.
  • School uniforms (New in 2011/12)

How Much can I Claim?


You can claim 50% of eligible education expenses up to the maximum amounts. The maximum claimable amounts are:

$794 for each primary school child. You can claim a maximum refund of $397 for each primary school child you have, and
$1,588 for each secondary school child. You can claim a maximum refund of $794 for each secondary school child.
How do I Claim ETR?

If you lodge a tax return you claim the ETR in the relevant year’s tax return. If you are not required to lodge a tax return you can claim the ETR on the Education Tax Refund for individuals claim form. For assistance in obtaining these, please contact us.

Author: Macmillans Waller Fry - Accountants




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