I recently bought some used books on Amazon. The books are directly related to what I do for a living. In Australia, I know that if you have the receipt for books like that, you could claim it as a tax deduction.

I was wondering though, if the book is used, and I paid for it via an American company and in US dollars, can I still claim this as a deduction on my Australian tax return? The invoice also says "This is not a VAT invoice." as well. I'm not sure what VAT means?

3 Answers 3


VAT = Value Added Tax (as an Aussie think "GST") This is applicable in Britain. Basically, if you were in Britain, and if you could claim VAT as a deduction, that invoice is not sufficient proof to make the claim. But you're in Oz so it doesn't apply to you in any case.

For work-related deductions like book purchases, see http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/content.asp?doc=/content/00216829.htm&pc=001/002/068/001/002&mnu=&mfp=&st=&cy=1

Issues such as the books being second hand or purchased online are not cited in the instructions as relevant/limiting factors. In fact, if you really want to get into the nitty gritty, you could claim the work-related proportion of your internet access fees as a deduction (question D5 instructions, above, cover that as well).


Yes, you can. That the books were purchased from abroad is irrelevant: you incurred an expense in the course of earning your income.

If the books are expensive (>$300 per set iirc) you will need to deprecate them over a reasonable life time rather than claiming the entire amount up front.

It doesn't matter whether what you got was a VAT Invoice; as long as you have some reasonable documentation of the expense you're ok.


Yes, if they meet the ATO's criteria.

Books, periodicals and digital information

If the item cost less than $300 you can claim an immediate deduction where it satisfies all of the following requirements:

  • It is used predominantly for earning assessable income that is not income from carrying on a business.
  • It is not part of a set of assets acquired in the same income year that costs more than $300.
  • It is not one of a number of identical or substantially identical items acquired in the same income year that together cost more than $300.



They may be a self-education expense


A Further Alternative

They could fall into the tool, equipment or other asset category if they are for a professional library (this can include a home office).


I understand this is an old question although given the dead link in the above answer and the new resources this answer might prove helpful for others coming across this question.

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