Emerging Technology

Bah humbug! Computer games not eligible for refund, taxman rules

SmartCompany /

If you’ve bought the kids a Nintendo Wii or Xbox for Christmas and were hoping to claim it under the Rudd Government’s new education tax refund, then you’re out of luck.

If you’ve bought the kids a Nintendo Wii or Xbox for Christmas and were hoping to claim it under the Rudd Government’s new education tax refund, then you’re out of luck.

Despite claims from some educators that computer games actually help children learn, the Australian Taxation Office has ruled that computer game consoles will not be eligible for the new scheme.

The refund allows parents to claim 50% of eligible education expenses, with a maximum refund of $375 for each primary school child and $750 for each secondary school student.

The tax office says the fund covers tools such as computer software for educational use, internet filters and anti-virus software. Other tools that can be claimed include USB drives, home internet expenses, laptop computers, school textbooks and stationary.

But expenses not eligible for the refund include school fees, uniform costs, musical instruments and – to the disappointment of parents everywhere this Christmas – computer games and consoles.

The ruling will disappoint some schools, which have started to use educational games as part of their curriculum, as well as the $1.5 billion local games industry.

Recent studies also show 95% of children aged six to 10, those in primary school, play computer games.

The tax office has given no explanation for the ruling, which comes in the middle of the Christmas shopping season, typically a high-selling period for video games.

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