WHK Western Victoria - January 2012 Article. 

WHK ACCOUNTANTS AND FINANCIAL PLANNERS

 

Keep your back-to-school receipts!


At this time of year when parents are busy preparing to send children back to school the Education Tax Refund generates a lot of interest. Of particular interest, the government has extended the eligible expenses to include school uniforms, but only for uniforms purchased after 30 June 2011. Find out what other back to school expenses you can and canít claim on your next tax returnÖ

Keeping your back-to-school receipts is good practice to maximize your claim for an Education Tax Refund. The government has extended the eligible expenses to include school uniforms purchased after 30 June 2011. To be eligible the uniform must be one prescribed by the school, but not necessarily mandatory.

To be eligible to claim an Education Tax Refund you must first be eligible for Family Tax Benefit A. You can make your claim in your tax return or if you donít need to lodge, you can lodge a separate claim form which is available on the ATO website. For those who forgot to claim it last year, you can request an amendment to last yearís tax return or for non-lodgers you can complete the 2011 Education Tax Refund form.

For each primary school child you can claim a maximum of $397 and for high school children a maximum of $794. For each $1 you spend on eligible expenditure you will receive a 50 cent refund, up to the maximum amounts. So for a high school student you would need to spend $1,588 to claim back the $794 refund. If you have more than one child you can spread the expense across each of the children (providing it is used by each of them for their education). This allows you to claim large expenses and get the maximum refund. Should the expenses exceed the limit, the remainder can be carried forward to the next year.

What you can claim
The type of expenses you can claim include: a laptop computer, desktop computer, extended warranty, virus software, surge protector, printer, consumables, Ipad, Internet connection, stationery, computer repairs, school text books, educational computer software, general software ie: Microsoft Office, trade tools for secondary trade courses and uniforms purchased after 30 June 2011 (including hats, footwear and sports uniforms approved by the school).

The items must be used by your child for their school education. But they donít have to be used solely for their education and there is no apportionment between private and education use. So even if you used these items 50% for private use, you can still claim the whole expense. However, if you are already claiming some of these items as a tax deduction in your business or in relation to your employment, then that portion of the expense is not claimable for the Education Tax Refund.

If you share the care of your child with a former spouse, then you reduce the amount otherwise claimable by the percentage of care provided by your former spouse. For example, if you have 70% care of your child then you can only claim 70% of the amount otherwise calculated. However, you can carry forward the excess to the next year.

What you canít claim
Items that you cannot claim include: school fees, excursions, tuition fees, musical and sporting equipment, building levies, library fees, subject levies, school photos, tuck shop, donations, computer games, computer desk and chairs.

For more information please contact Ray Colenso in the Geelong office or your local

 

 
Ray Colenso,
Senior Manager,
Geelong office
 
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