Self-development courses include personal development courses, success seminars and personal/executive coaching.
The self-development field is very broad and covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.
The ATO’s self-education ruling TR 98/9 states that the cost of a personal development course will only be deductible to the extent that the course is directly related to a taxpayer’s current income-earning activities.
If a course of study is too general in terms of the taxpayer’s current income-earning activities, the necessary connection between the self-education expense and the income earning activity does not exist. The cost of self-improvement or personal development courses is generally not allowable.
If a course includes modules that partly relate to income earning activities, then a proportion of the course fees will be deductible. Modules that would be potentially deductible include project management, leadership, leading change, mentoring staff, presentation skills, written communication, marketing, etc.
Modules or courses that would be private or too general in nature and as such non-deductible include diet, nutrition, meditation, empowering emotions, decision making, getting along with others, communication, stress management, improving social abilities, fulfilling aspirations, improving wealth, improving self-awareness, building self-esteem, enhancing lifestyle, developing strengths, etc.