AMA Calls to Scrap Cap on Tax Deductions for Professional Development Expenses

By Petrina Smith
Wednesday, 10 July, 2013

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has welcomed a move to launch a full Senate inquiry into the Federal Government’s $2000 cap on tax deductions for work-related self-education expenses.
AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the tax cap was poorly conceived, and a Senate inquiry would highlight just how harmful and counter-productive it would be.
“The Government should be encouraging self-education to grow the economy, not setting up road blocks,” Dr Hambleton said.  “It is a tax on education that will make it much harder for doctors to develop and maintain their skills, and make it much more difficult for them to sustain world-best practice in the quality of care they provide.”
Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne says her party has major concerns about the tax cap and will push for a full Senate inquiry into the measure.
Senator Milne’s announcement came after the AMA and 21 other peak professional organisations met in Canberra and issued a united call for the tax cap to be scrapped, arguing it is a tax on learning that will discourage doctors and other workers from upgrading their skills and knowledge, potentially undermining service standards and hurting productivity and innovation.
Dr Hambleton called on the Government to heed the concerns of a wide range of professions and reverse its course.
He said doctors and other professionals spent much time and many thousands of dollars every year keeping their knowledge and skills up to date, and the policy would undermine all this effort.
“This policy was poorly informed, and it is poorly implemented,” Dr Hambleton said.
So far, nearly 10,000 doctors and other professionals have signed up to the #Scrap the Cap campaign to lobby both the Government and the Opposition to overturn their support for the tax change.

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