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Language course tax deductions

Discussion in 'Accounting, Tax & Legal' started by eddyl, 20th May, 2008.

  1. eddyl

    eddyl Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I work in the banking industry, but I was wondering whether anyone knows whether I can claim language courses as a tax deduction? I know they have to relate to your profession, but language courses could arguably be beneficial for anybody in any profession.
     
  2. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    You'll probably have to prove that you were required to have those language skills to make it claimable. A letter from your employer stating that you are expected to have specific skill should be suitable I'd think.
     
  3. eddyl

    eddyl Well-Known Member

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    So it wouldn't be valid to say you deal with people within the office who speak a particular language, and it aids in communication. I.e it is not a requirement of the business, but it helps in your day to day functioning
     
  4. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    The ATO won't even consider it unless it is a required part of your job - not a "nice to have".

    I had trouble with the ATO last year with two items - the first was home office expense deductions and the second was self-education deductions.

    Their argument in the case of home office expenses was that unless I had a "requirement" to work from home, they wouldn't consider the costs I was trying to claim (which included a percentage of electricity/gas/rent). A letter from my employer was all they were looking for.

    Self-education expenses are even more difficult, since they MUST be related to the income you currently earn - and not to earning more income later.

    If you are a translator or are specifically employed to work with people who only speak another language - then perhaps you would get away with it. You'd want your employment agreement to state specifically that it is a requirement though - or have something documented by your employer.

    If your employer thinks it is a good idea - even if they don't want to pay for it - get them to write you a letter stating that it is an important part of your job. If they won't write the letter, then it probably isn't important!

    Perhaps you can put that in your next "personal development" agreement - stating that you want to improve your language skills to help with your customer service ability - it will help your employer, so they should be supportive.

    I'm not a tax expert - so don't take my answers as the final word!