iPad can be claimed as tax deduction, ATO confirms

Australians may be able to fund their purchase of Apple’s new iPad through a tax break, with the Australian Taxation Office confirming the gadget can be claimed through the Federal Government’s Education Tax Refund.

The loophole could spark a rush of claims for iPads, with a new study from Boston Consulting Group revealing 23% of Australians plan to purchase an eReader or tablet computer this year, with that number growing to 49% within the next three years.

The Australian Taxation Office confirmed to SmartCompany this morning that the iPad will be treated as a laptop computer under the scheme, which allows taxpayers with primary or secondary school students to claim refunds of either $375 or $750 respectively.

The Education Refund covers 50% of expenses up to $750 for a primary school student, and up to $1,500 for a secondary student, providing rebates of $375 or $750 respectively.

Repair and running costs are also included, which would cover home internet connections, along with necessary peripherals such as a printer.

Taxpayers hoping to claim the gadget through the scheme must first check their eligibility, as the refund carries a number of requirements.

While the maximum refunds would not cover the entire cost of an iPad, they would provide a significant discount for the gadget, the most expensive model of which is priced at $1,049.

Demand is certainly growing for tablet devices, with Apple saying last week pre-orders for the iPad were “off the charts”. No solid figures were revealed.

But the BCG survey reveals eReaders and tablets, which have been pushed to the sidelines during the past few years as early adopters bought the first devices on the market, are now becoming a mainstream device.

The firm’s survey reveals 23% of Australians plan to buy an eReader or tablet within the next year, while 44% of those familiar with the devices plan to purchase one. Those numbers jump to 49% and 75% respectively within the next three years.

BCG spokesperson Patrick Forth said in a statement the survey shows eReaders and tablets could become as popular as MP3 players did during the past decade.

“The survey suggests eReaders and tablets could become established consumer products, alongside TVs, PCs, and mobile handsets such as the BlackBerry and iPhone. They could also inject fresh hope into the publishing industry, which is struggling to generate online revenues,” he said.

“Firstly, over 80% of potential Australian users of eReaders or tablets are interested in reading newspapers and magazines. Secondly, they appear willing to spend slightly more than the global average on the devices and on purchases of digital books, magazines and newspapers.”

The survey also found users are willing to pay between $7-12 dollars for a digital book, and would pay between $7-13 dollars for a digital newspaper subscription.

However, the survey also shows multi-purpose tablet devices have an edge over the eReader, with 66% of respondents globally saying they would prefer a multipurpose device, as opposed to the 24% who opt for a single-function gadget.

The vast majority of respondents also said they would be more likely to purchase content if they weren’t locked in to a certain infrastructure, such as the iTunes Store.

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