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Last updated 10:54 AM on 15 September 2011

Parents are encouraged to keep their receipts from education related expenses to take advantage of a federal government initiative.

The Education Tax Refund (ETR) provides parents with refunds of 50% on a range of primary and secondary school education expenses.

Parents can receive refunds of up to $375 per primary school student and $750 per secondary school student.

A family with two kids in high school and one in primary school could potentially get a refund of almost $2,000 on eligible education expenses.

Items you can claim

Parents can claim the cost of buying, establishing, repairing and maintaining any of the following items:

  • school textbooks and other printed learning material, including prescribed textbooks, associated learning materials, study guides and stationery
  • prescribed trade tools for secondary school trade courses
  • laptop computers and home computers
  • computer-related equipment such as printers, USB flash drives, as well as disability aids to assist in the use of computer equipment for students with special needs
  • home internet connections
  • computer software for educational use.

Items you can't claim

The types of items you can't claim include:

  • school fees
  • school uniform expenses
  • tutoring costs
  • sporting equipment
  • musical instruments.

Families can claim the ETR if they have eligible education expenses and received Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A for the child that the expenses relate to.

Families are also eligible if they have children in primary or secondary school who would be eligible for FTB Part A purposes, but for the fact that the child receives certain payments or allowances, including:

  • Youth Allowance
  • Disability Support Pension
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • the Veterans' Children Education Scheme
  • Student Financial Supplement Scheme
  • the scheme to provide education and training under s258 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

Parents have until March-April 2010 to claim out of pocket education expenses for the 2009 school year, if they lodge their individual tax returns through a tax agent.

Education Tax Refund website.