ADA backs calls to scrap the cap

Dr Karin Alexander of the ADA.
Dr Karin Alexander of the ADA.

The Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA) with a membership of approximately 14,500 dentists and dentist students has now joined an alliance of peak professional bodies that have opposed the government’s proposal to cap tax deductions on work-related self-education expenses to $2,000.

“Under the reforms, tax deductions for work-related self-education expenses will be limited to just $2,000 per person,” said Dr Karin Alexander, ADA Federal President. “A recent survey of our members shows that over 90 per cent spend more than that amount each year on continuing professional development (CPD) activities. Dentists in rural areas have to spend even more to access education because of the limited opportunities in these areas.

“The meeting of the alliance this week was adamant the proposal to cap tax deductions at $2,000 is a fundamental threat to professional education in this country and specifically represented a withdrawal of government responsibility to support health professionals in delivering quality health care to Australians.

“The Australian Government forgets that health practitioners are legally obliged to undertake mandatory CPD activities each year. This cap effectively punishes health practitioners for maintaining their skills. Self-education is used by dentists to increase their professional expertise and to keep up-to-date with developments and techniques. It helps dentists increase their expertise and the benefits of this accrue to their patients. To discourage this by effectively taxing self-education is just ludicrous.

“Health professionals make a lifelong commitment and investment in their own self education to ensure they can provide the highest quality of service to consumers. The ADA can’t see any logic in what has been announced.

“Every dentist recognises the economic environment that Australia currently faces however, rationalising costs that build intellectual capital and improve health standards is short-sighted”, added Dr Alexander.

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  1. If the marketing of some very worthwhile educational opportunities did not highlight the additional perks on offer e.g. feeding the travel bug with taxpayer assistance, then the ethical educational need may be met with less cynicism. Some kind of appropriate capping must be applied to clip the wings of the unethical minority.


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