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Education Tax Refund

What is the Education Tax Refund?

The Education Tax Refund (ETR) is the Australian Governments way of helping with the cost of educating primary and secondary school children. Eligible parents, carers, legal guardians and independent students are able to get money back on education expenses like computers, educational software, textbooks and stationery.

Many types of education expenses are claimable under the Education Tax Refund as long as you have a receipt for your expense of course. Find out more about what you can claim on the government education refund website.

Who is eligible?

To claim the ETR, a person must have had eligible education expenses during the financial year for a child, who meets the schooling requirement, and:

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

If you are not entitled to receive FTB Part A, you may still be entitled to claim the ETR if you receive any of the following payments:

  • Youth Allowance
  • Disability Support Pension
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme, and
  • the scheme to provide education and training under s258 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

For more information on eligibility for the ETR visit the government education tax refund website.


Eligible expenses

Many types of education expenses are eligible for the ETR and 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
  • prescribed trade tools for secondary school trade courses, and
  • school uniform expenses (uniforms purchased after 1 July 2011 are claimable in the 2011/12 financial year).

Find out more about eligible expense from the education tax refund website.

Expenses which cannot be claimed

  • school fees
  • 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 consumables 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, and
  • computer games and consoles.

Find out more about what you cannot claim from the education tax refund website.

Sharing eligible expenses

Where eligible education expenses are incurred for more than one eligible child, you can share the expense between their children. But all the children must use the purchased items and the you must buy the item on a day when they satisfied the eligibility requirements for the ETR for each child. This is called pooling.

Claiming the Education Tax Refund

If you are eligible for the Education Tax Refund (ETR) because you receive FTB Part A, only you can claim the refund. For example, your spouse cannot claim the Education Tax Refund in their tax return if you receive FTB Part A.

Find out more about how to claim on the education tax refund website or by talking to a Tax & Accounting expert.

^Michael –  Practice Development Manager

Things you should know>

This information and advice is general in nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before implementing any recommendations that you may make based on the information contained here we recommend that you see a registered tax agent or legal adviser. The information in this article has been sourced from the Australian Government’s Education Tax Refund website