In the early 70s tax deductibility was introduced for expenditure on “self education”. No matter what was being studied, as long as it was a formal course, the cost was tax deductible.

We have come a long way since then and stringent tests are now applied which basically link self education with current work.

It is a strange anomaly that two University students sitting next to each other in the same lecture theatre can be in opposite camps – one where all his fees and other expenses are deductible, including parking the car that took him to University, and the other where nothing is a deduction. It is even possible that they could be working for the same employer.

The terms “self education” and “continuous professional development” have received a lot of professional attention ever since an architect named Finn successfully challenged the Tax Department over his claims for a study tour of Europe to look at buildings like the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Tower of London and Stonehenge!

The link that is absolutely obligatory between study expenses and tax deductibility is today’s present job. If your line of study does not relate to what you are being paid to do NOW then it basically does not qualify as a tax deductible expense.

Last year I greatly disappointed an overseas student doing a Masters degree in computer science because I would not claim his University costs as a necessary expense incurred in his job packing shelves at Coles.