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Department of Education, Training and Employment

Education tax refund

Introduction

Overview

Families have been able to claim a 50% Education Tax Refund since 1 July 2008.

Eligible families are able to claim a 50% refund for eligible education expenses up to the applicable limits each financial year as per the Education Tax Refund website External Link.

Prep - Grade 7

Please notethat for the purposes of the Education Tax Refund in the State of Queensland:

For further information on applicable primary schooling, pre-prep, preschool, kindergarten and indigenous community programs please contact:

Division of Indigenous Education and Training Futures
Level 21, Education House
30 Mary Street, Brisbane.
Postal address: PO Box 15033, City East Qld 4002
Telephone: (07) 3237 0182
Email: indigenous@deta.qld.gov.au

Grade 8 - Grade 12

Please note that for the purposes of the Education Tax Refund in the State of Queensland, Secondary Schooling in Queensland is deemed to be inclusive of the following grades - Grade 8 - Grade 12.

Please be aware that grade 7 will not be part of secondary school until 2015, unless otherwise notified by the department.

Special School Student's level of entitlement is yet to be determined by the Commonwealth Treasury Department and claimants should contact the ATO to lodge their query and seek advice on the appropriate course of action in making their claim (Telephone: 13 28 66).

Evidence to support an ETR claim:


Eligibility for the Education Tax Refund

Parents entitled to Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A in respect of children undertaking primary or secondary school studies for the relevant financial year are eligible for the Education Tax Refund.

Full details of eligibility criteria can be found on the ATO website.

Eligible expenses are items that support a child during school and improve the quality of education.

Eligible Expenses cover the purchase, lease, hire, hire-purchase of:

Prescribed trade tools would need to be acquired as part of a vocational training subject aimed at developing occupational/trade skills. Whether or not a subject is a vocational course or a general elective is a question of fact. Courses run in senior years that involve training facilities, such as TAFE or trade schools, and a recognised trade qualification would more likely be considered a vocational course than one which had none of these features.

A 'tool of trade' is an instrument of manual operation commonly used in a specific occupations. This would include, for example, items such as a saw, hammer or file for a carpenter. Sports and most cooking equipment would not, however, constitute a 'tool'.

The definition, therefore, has two elements, the instrument (tool) and the occupation (trade), and it is considered both elements need to be present for the acquisition costs to be an eligible expense for ETR purposes. Thus the cost of tools as part of an elective subject such as woodwork would not necessarily qualify as an eligible expense.

If a school fee includes eligible items, such as textbooks or stationery, the school must be able to identify the value of the eligible items in order for the amounts to be claimable.

For example, Johnny attends ABC school, and pays $250 for annual school fees. ABC school has listed on Johnny 's receipt that the fee included $75 for textbook hire and $20 for stationery. Johnny's parents can include $95 of the fee as eligible education expenses.

Expenses that are not eligible for the purposes of the tax offset include:

Eligible expenses that have been incurred by a parent or guardian with more than one child with an ETR entitlement can be pooled and claimed against the children 's combined ETR entitlement, provided that the children all have access to the purchased items.

Education expenses in excess of what can be claimed in a financial year are able to be carried over in the following financial year. Eligible expenses that are not utilised for the purpose of claiming the ETR in the financial year that they occurred or the subsequent financial year would automatically lapse.

The ETR may not be claimed for educational expenses if a tax deduction, another tax offset, or a Commonwealth Government payment/subsidy is payable in respect of that expense.

Queensland Government Textbook and Resource Allowance Scheme (TRAS)

The Queensland State Government Textbook and Resource Allowance Scheme is not legislated under a Commonwealth law, therefore, it has no effect on eligible education expenses for the purposes of the ETR.

Eligible claimants are entitled to claim the full cost of any ETR eligible expense items charged by schools, up to the ATO annual prescribed limits.

For example, in 2011:

The Student Resource Scheme fee for a student may be $192 after being discounted by the Textbook and Resource Allowance (TRA) of $233 (Grades 11 - 12). For the purposes of the ETR the claimant may determine that $335 of the $425 Resource Scheme Fee (excluding the TRA in Grades 11 - 12) is for eligible items. This is despite the fact that the student has only been charged $192 by the school, as per the example below in 'Documentation and Record Keeping'.

Education Expenses Matrix
Item Thing to which expense relates Kind of Expense
1

Computer for:

  • home use (including, in the case of an individual who has no home, use in a setting that equates to a residential setting for the person)
  • use in an education institution in place of paper based educational material.
  • cost of acquiring (Whether by way of purchase, lease, hire, or hire-purchase)
  • cost of repairing
  • costs associated with running.
2

Computer-related equipment for a use referred to in item 1, including:

  • printers, USB flash drives
  • disability aids.
  • cost of acquiring (Whether by way of purchase, lease, hire, or hire-purchase)
  • cost of repairing
  • costs associated with running.

3

Home internet connection

  • cost of establishing
  • cost of maintaining.
4

Item of computer software

  • cost of acquiring (whether by way of purchase, lease, hire or hire-purchase).
5

School textbooks, other paper based school learning material and stationery

  • cost of acquiring (whether by way of purchase, lease, hire or hire-purchase).
6

A tool of trade

  • cost of acquiring (whether by way of purchase, lease, hire or hire-purchase).

Documentation and Record Keeping

For the purposes of the Education Tax Refund (ETR), the receipt, invoice or statement issued by the school for fees must identify the value of eligible (not necessarily ineligible) expenses. However, the school can advise of the breakdown in another written notice, either before the fee is invoiced, at the time the fee is invoiced or at a later date.

To satisfy the School's ETR obligations the receipt, invoice or statement given to claimants to assist them in identifying ELIGIBLE expenses (see section 'Eligible Expenses for the Education Tax Refund' above) must identify all gross costs individually with a description of the type of cost that enables ETR claimants to easily discern whether each individual cost item is an ETR eligible expense. This ATO requirement applies to any type of School Fee charged including but not limited to Participatory Student Resource Scheme Fees, Additional Subject/Course Charges, Non-Participatory Consumable Charges, Voluntary Contribution Requests etc. For example:

Less Textbook Resource and Allowance (TRA) $233 (Grade 11-12 in 2011)

(Please note that for the purposes of the ETR the TRA does not reduce the entitlement of claimants to the full individual line item costings of any eligible expenses that may be included above)

As illustrated above, each individual expense type being charged by the school (particularly an ETR eligible item) is to be allocated a separate cost (with any TRA reduction/offset separated from the actual gross costs) and it is then up to the claimant to determine their ETR Eligible Expenses.

The following is a disclaimer statement approved by the DET Legal & Administrative Law Branch that should be used by schools when disclosing fees for the purposes of the Education Tax Refund.

ETR Disclaimer

The Queensland Department of Education and Training detail the types of, and associated cost breakdown of the school fees for the purposes of the Tax Laws Amendment (Education Refund) Act 2008, and has taken due care and diligence in detailing the cost breakdown of school fees , however, the Department does not accept any responsibility for claims by an individual for the Education Tax Refund nor does it offer personal tax advice, and as such, members of the public should seek independent professional tax advice through a registered tax agent to determine any eligibility for and entitlement to the Education Tax Refund.

More information about the Education Tax Refund can also be found by contacting the ATO by telephone 132861 or vist their website External Link to assist in determining any potential eligibility for and entitlement to the Education Tax Refund.

Please contact the ATO on 13 28 66 or the CTU on 1300 656 380 if specific advice or information is required on this matter.

Taxation References

A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 [Section 169B] External Link

Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 [Section 13-1, Subdivision 61-M]. Section 67-25, Section 960-265] External Link

Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 [Section 208] External Link

Student Assistance Act 1973 - [Section 356] External Link

Taxation Administration Act 1953 [Section 45-340, Section 45-375] External Link

Individual - Keeping your Tax Records External Link

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This page was last reviewed on 13 Jul 2011 at 04:25PM

Related links

Australian Tax Office External Link

Commonwealth Treasury External Link

A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 External Link

Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 External Link

Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 External Link

Student Assistance Act 1973 External Link

Taxation Administration Act 1953 External Link

Individual - Keeping your Tax Records External Link

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