Self Education Deduction Refund Calculations – Anstis case

Students – Anstis case

If you received Youth Allowance for any year between 2007 to 2010– the Tax Office might automatically amend your tax return and give you an extra refund.

If you are eligible you will receive a letter from the ATO telling you this (if you haven’t already).

Want to know how much you will get back?

Read on – or wait until I publish a spreadsheet to calculate your tax refund and interest.

What is being done – The ATO will amend tax returns where Youth Allowance has been claimed as income to include an extra $550 deduction in the relevant years from 2006.

Why are the ATO amending returns?

Read on about Self Education Expenses – the old rules and the challenge.

Self Education Expenses -The Old Rules

Usually you can only claim Self-Education expenses if:

  1. it relates to your current job (i.e. if I work as a Chef I can’t claim my teaching course), or
  2. if it will increase skills you are using in your current job (i.e. a training course for work).


The Challenge – Anstis  received Youth Allowance and claimed her uni expenses as ‘Self Education expenses’. She claimed that the expenses should be able to be deducted against her youth allowance income. In striking similar process to the Castle (perhaps without Eric Bana) the case went all the way to the High Court and they ruled in favour of Anstis.

Why a $550 deduction? Their statistics said $800 average expenses per year (remember it doesn’t include HELP fees as you can’t claim this)

Less $250 (With item D4 -Self Education expenses you can only claim the amount over $250)

 $800 Average Uni expenses – $250 threshold = $550 Deduction that the average person would get

Questions & Answers

Does this mean I’ll get $550 tax back each year? NO it doesn’t. just that your taxable income will be reduced by $550.

Do I get anything back? I received all my tax back (my PAYG withheld from my job) when I lodged my return? – Then you won’t get anything extra.  You can only get tax back that has been paid (either by you or on your behalf like your employer, company you are a shareholder of, etc.)

I paid tax – What will I get back?

It depends on your old taxable income and the reduction in Tax, Medicare levy and Low income offset.

If you only had a part time job – you might get 15% back (or nothing-see above). If you got a full time job during the year you might get 16.5% or 20.5% (or 36.5% if you landed a good job!)


In Earlier Years – you paid more tax, but means you might get some back!

The Low income offset was less than 2010, so more people paid tax, and thus you have more chance of getting refunded.

More Information

See the ATO website.

The Low Income Tax Offset

The Low Income Tax Offset is automatically calculated in your return. It offsets your tax on taxable income.

So above 6,000 you pay 15%. But if you have an low income offset of $600 (like 2007),you can earn $10,000 without paying tax. See below for later year low income offset amounts.

Tax return – Low Income Threshold, Low Income Tax Offset

2010 – $15,000, $1,350

2009 – $14,000, $1,200

2008 – $12,000, $750

2007 -$10,000, $600


In 2010

Usually you will get back $550 deduction x Tax Rate (usually your marginal rate + medicare 1.5% if you paid it). If you earned over $30,000 you might also get an additional Low Income Offset (of 4%).

These figures are NEW taxable income (i.e. your old taxable income less $550= new taxable income).

Less than  15,000 – nil

15,000 – 17,793 = 15%

17,794 – 20,934 -  16.5 – 25%

20,934 – 30,000 = 16.5%

30,000 – 36,000 = 20.5%

36,000 – 63,750 = 35.5%

63,750 – 80,000 =  31.5%

I.e. If you earned 20,934 – 30,000 you will get 16.5% or $90.75 (15% marginal tax + medicare).

Posted in Tax, Uni

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