The Education Tax Refund (ETR) aims to help 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. The Government has recently changed the ETR to include school-approved uniforms, purchased from 1 July 2011; these items of clothing including hats, footwear and sports uniforms approved by a school as its uniform may be claimed from 1 July 2012.

What items can be claimed?

Eligible expenses 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, and
•   prescribed trade tools for secondary school trade courses.
•   school-approved uniforms purchased from 1 July 2011 can be claimed in the 2011/12 tax year

What school uniform items will be able to be claimed in 2011/12?

School uniform items purchased from 1 July 2011 need to be distinctive and recognised by the school – but are not limited to items bearing a school crest. For example, items of clothing without a school crest such as grey pants or leather shoes may be eligible expenses; provided they are approved or recognised as part of a distinctive school outfit and are in accordance with the school’s uniform policy.

When and how do I claim school uniform items?

Start by keeping receipts for school uniform items purchased from 1 July 2011. Make your claim in next year’s tax return. If you don’t need to do a tax return you can claim on the Education Tax Refund for individuals claim form which is available from the Tax Office.

Who is eligible for the Education Tax Refund?

A person who has received Family Tax Benefit Part A for a child undertaking primary or secondary school studies may be eligible for the Education Tax Refund. Independent students in primary or secondary school, as well as people on other allowances may also be eligible for the ETR.

How much can be claimed?

The ETR can provide up to 50% rebate on a range of children’s education expenses. For the 2010–11 tax year refunds may be as much as $397 for every child at primary school, and up to $794 for every child at secondary school.

Here at The Quinn Group our experienced team of tax agents and accountants can assist you in making claims for your child’s education expenses. For more information on the Education Tax Refund changes or for any other tax queries submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.