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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Saving receipts for the education tax refund

For the past couple of years I've been saving receipts from our visits to the GP and pharmacy, as you can get a tax rebate for medical expenses (minus any medicare rebate) above the theshold. Last year a new tax refund item was introduced for claiming eligible education expenses - money spent computers, internet access, text books and study aids for one's primary or secondary age school children.

We visited the local shopping mall this afternoon while DS1 and DS2 went to the zoo with my parents, and I decided to buy a workbook of Year 7 Algebra practice problems for DS1 to do when his is at after-school care on Thursdays this year. Unfortunately, when I got home DS1 pointed out that it was the same book that I'd bought last year, and he'd completed it a couple of months ago! Luckily I'd get the receipt after entering the expense in Quicken, so I'll be able to take the receipt and book back next weekend and swap it for something he doesn't already have - perhaps the Year 7 Mathematics Study guide. DS1 is only in Year 4 this year, but he was in the "Math Extension" class last year and enjoys doing more advanced math problems.

For DS1 the education tax refund is capped at $375 (50% of $750 expenditure), but I'm not sure we'll reach the limit as a lot of things I spend money on for DS1's education aren't "eligible".

Eligible education expenses include:

* laptop computers, home computers and associated costs - including repair and running costs of computer equipment
* computer-related equipment such as printers, USB flash drives, as well as disability aids to assist in the use of computer equipment for students with special needs
* home internet connections - including the costs of establishing and maintaining computer software for educational use - including word processing, spreadsheet, database and presentation software, and internet filters and antivirus software
* school textbooks and other paper based school learning material - including prescribed textbooks, associated learning materials, study guides and stationery, for example pencils, pens, compasses and glue, and
* prescribed trade tools.

Expenses that are not eligible for the Education Tax Refund include:

* school fees
* school uniform expenses
* student attendance at school-based extra curricular activities such as excursions
* tutoring costs
* musical instruments
* sporting equipment
* school subject levies – for example, payment for consumables for particular subjects such as woodwork, art or home science.
computer games and consoles.

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