NEW Federal Government education reforms could mean higher out-of-pocket expenses for doctors continuing their medical training.
From 1 July 2014, the tax deduction for work-related, self-education expenses will be capped annually at $2000 per person.
Under the current arrangements these deductions are unlimited, and the Federal Government believes this provides an opportunity for people to enjoy private benefits at taxpayers’ expense.
AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, has criticised the changes and believes the new cap falls well below the basic costs for certain courses. The Australian and New Zealand Surgical Skills Education and Training Program, for example, costs $3,280.
Medical colleges in Australia require doctors to continue with ongoing professional development in order to maintain their skills. Australia has some of the most demanding medical training courses in the world.
The AMA is concerned doctors will face difficult choices in order to pursue life-saving medical training courses. There is a danger that the new changes will limit the courses doctors undertake to those they can afford.
In most cases employers are not liable for fringe-benefits tax for education and training they provide to their employees. The Federal Government has stated that this treatment will remain unchanged.