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Gillard Government to ease schools costs with new tax refund for school uniforms.\n

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The Hon Julia Gillard, MP Joint Press Release

Prime Minister Treasurer Minister for Education

Gillard Government to ease schools costs with new tax refund for school uniforms

13 July 2010

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced the Government will expand the Education Tax Refund scheme so that school uniforms can be included in claims, giving families up to $779 per child each year to help with the costs of sending kids to school.

Ms Gillard said that she understands that despite the strength of the national economy, many Australians are doing it tough with high living costs. Not everyone is seeing the benefits of a strong economy.

That's why it is so important to make the cost of getting a good education as affordable as possible. The Government is committed to taking practical steps that help working parents get by and give their kids the best education they can.

We all know that uniforms can be an expensive part of sending kids to school but this change, along with the existing refund for textbooks and computers, will help families with that cost.

Around 2.1 million children across Australia are eligible for the refund. To date, almost one million families have claimed the existing refund to support more than 1.7 million children.

Parents will be able to claim up to 50 per cent of the cost of uniforms in addition to the existing education expenses included in the scheme, currently up to $390 per child each year for primary school kids or $779 per child each year for those in secondary school.

The Government will provide this relief to family budgets while ensuring we return the budget to surplus by 2013.

The existing items parents can claim under the Education Tax refund include the cost of computers and computer equipment, textbooks and trade tools for secondary school trade courses.

To be eligible, school uniforms would need to be approved by the school but not necessarily mandatory for the child to wear.

The new eligible items would be available for expenses incurred during the 2011-12 financial year and the tax refund would be paid in the 2012-13 financial year.

Over the forward estimates the Government expects to pay an additional $220 million (underlying cash basis) by including school uniforms in the refund.

Parents or guardians entitled to Family Tax Benefit Part A for one or more children in school are eligible for the refund. Parents are also eligible if their child receives another payment, such as Youth Allowance, Disability Support Pension or ABSTUDY Living Allowance, but would otherwise be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A.