The test is a standard question of whether the conference costs were ‘necessarily incurred in earning your assessable income’. The ‘necessary’ causes some taxpayers some concerns.
If the conference keeps your knowledge current and/or refines your skills, is in the area that you currently operate and is in the nature of continuing professional development, then you will be OK and costs for the conference, local and air travel and accommodation will be tax deductible.
It must be connected to you earning your current income. If it was a conference where you were acquiring totally new skills, (e.g. a car salesman) then this would be seen as a capital expense and not deductible against your current income.
If you can get some letter from your employer that they would like you to attend so that your knowledge is kept current, then that would be perfect. If you can’t get their support, then you can still claim this self-education if you believe that the above criteria can be met.
Please keep in mind that if a portion of your travel is private in nature then you will need to show that you have reduced your claim to exclude any private portion of that trip. If the conference is 3 days long but you decide to stay for an extra night, then that night would not be deductible. As the main purpose of the trip was for a work related conference all the airfares, and accommodation would be deductible.
You can also claim meal and other incidental expenses incurred while away on overnight work related travel.
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