Recent updates to the federal budget indicate that individuals may be able to make tax deduction claims for upskilling courses that improve their capabilities and employability in industries unrelated to their current employment.
This is an expansion of the current tax regime which allows eligible Australian taxpayers to claim deductions for self-education expenses only where it can be proven that the education is directly related to the individual’s current income-earning ability.
Australia’s need for a diversified workforce
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought job insecurity and mass redundancies around the world, as well as drastically changing market demands.
In Australia, the hard closure of international borders has cut off the previously dependable supply of skilled migrant workers and left a gaping hole in some industries that local job keepers were not prepared to fill.
Even without the challenges that came with the pandemic, the labour market has already been scrambling to keep up with an increasingly globalised and technologically advanced world.
The Australian government’s JobKeeper and JobSeeker initiatives have helped keep the economy afloat, while the national unemployment rate has been slowly but steadily decreasing.
But the world is transforming and Australia needs a diversified workforce to be able to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the labour market.
Many Australians have lost jobs that may never return and would benefit greatly from the widening of the tax deduction claims for self-education and upskilling.
Implementation of these changes
If the Treasury indeed decides to make these changes to the self-education tax deductions, there would be measures put in place to prevent people from misusing these deductions.
It is likely that a portion of the upfront deduction would be withheld until the individual is able to prove that they have been able to earn an income using the self-education that they have undertaken.
This will encourage workers to upskill themselves while also preventing the abuse of this financial allocation in the federal budget.
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