Tax deductions

Universities want bigger tax deductions for education

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that 41 percent of Australian adults took some form of apprenticeship in 2016-17, up from 46 percent in 2013 and 49 percent in 2005.

Each year, 530,000 Australians deduct more than $ 1 billion from work-related self-education expenses, excluding expenses related to formal education courses provided by professional associations, according to CPA Australia.

Elinor Kasapidis, senior director of tax policy for CPA Australia, described the $ 250 threshold as a 1980s “political hangover” and supported its abandonment.

Taxation is not the best way to encourage training

However, CPA Australia does does not support a position that all education and training spending should be tax deductible, arguing that it would mainly benefit those with higher incomes and should be more focused on those who would benefit the most.

“Underemployed and low-skilled people would not necessarily be the main beneficiaries of this deduction and it may not be the best way to encourage and support the retraining of Australians so that they find a job,” Ms. Kasapidis said.

Underemployed or low-income people, including those not in the labor force, with
little or no income tax, will derive little or no benefit from such a deduction, she said.

Other options that could be more targeted included tax credit refunds or increased funding for educational institutions to improve the pathways of disadvantaged people to training that will help them find employment. .

“Our view is that the tax system is not the most efficient way to do it,” Ms. Kasapidis said.

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