The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has backed a decision by the Coalition government to scarp the limit on claiming tax deductions for self-education expenses.
The $2000 cap, introduced by the former Treasurer, Labor's Wayne Swan, was originally to take effect from 1 July next year but then deferred until 2015. The measure was intended to raise $266.7 million dollars, Treasurer Joe Hockey said this morning.
Hockey's comments on scrapping the cap were made as part of the federal government's announcement that it would ditch or alter more than 90 proposed changes to tax and superannuation.
Some 639,000 Australians claim self-education expenses, Hockey said. "Of those, 174,000 taxpayers claim expenses of more than $2000. Of the 174,000 taxpayers affected by Labor's cap on self-education, 81 per cent earn less than $80,000 a year."
"They are the people who are trying to invest in their own education to get ahead," the treasurer said. "It was flawed policy with no motivation other than a simple headline."
ICT didn't get a mention in this morning's announcement. "This was a cap on those on the frontline of the health and education sector," education minister Christopher Pyne said in his statement on the change.
After Swan announced the cap, both the ACS and the Australian Information Industry Association came out swinging. At the time, the ACS said reviewing the change was a "matter of urgency" and the AIIA's CEO, Suzanne Campbell, said that the policy was directly at odds with addressing ICT skills shortages within Australia.
“This is a great win for our members and indeed anyone looking to further develop their skills in their chosen career,” ACS policy head Adam Redman said.
"The proposed cap would barely have covered a single day of professional development, and would have led to professionals falling behind."