AIIA happy with demise of self-education cap

Scrapping the cap removes a barrier to IT professionals keeping their skills up to date

The Australian Information Industry Association has welcomed the federal government's announcement that it will ditch a limit on the tax deductibility of self-education expenses.

Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday announced that the $2000 cap, which was to take effect in 2015, would be scrapped.

In addition to the AIIA, the move also has the support of the Australian Computer Society.

Both organisations campaigned against the cap in the lead-up to the federal election.

"Limiting the amount of expenses that could be claimed, particularly in relation to ICT, ignored the dynamic nature of technology and the imperative for ICT professionals to ensure their skills are up to date and relevant," the AIIA's CEO, Suzanne Campbell, said in response to Hockey's announcement.

Broader issues around the shortage of ICT skills in Australia are being tackled by programs such as GroupX, Campbell said, but the CEO added that "it is critical that we also incentivise those that do have technical skills to keep their skills relevant as technology evolves"

GroupX is an education program being rolled out nationally that aims to boost the number of tertiary students studying IT subjects. The program is backed by NICTA, the ACS and the AIIA.

The cap on claiming self-education expenses was intended to raise $266.7 million dollars.

Some 639,000 Australians claim self-education expenses, the treasurer said yesterday in his announcement.

"Of those, 174,000 taxpayers claim expenses of more than $2000," Hockey said.

"Of the 174,000 taxpayers affected by Labor's cap on self-education, 81 per cent earn less than $80,000 a year."