Financial Services

Course materials

For course materials to be GST-free, they must meet specific criteria.

They must be:

  • provided for a subject in a GST-free course
  • provided by the supplier of the course itself (in this case the University) to the students; if the student purchases materials directly from a third party such as a stationer, it is not a supply of course materials and therefore not GST-free
  • necessarily consumed or transformed by the students undertaking the course, for the purpose of the course. Hence the effective life of course materials is limited to the duration of the course.

The term 'consumed' means destroyed or expended by use. For example, the supply of a workbook that requires the student to complete exercises in it is a course material and therefore is GST-free.

The term 'transformed' means changed in form. Examples of materials that are changed in form include cooking ingredients in a home economics class, or wood in a manual arts class, or chemicals in a chemistry class.

Goods that do not fall within the definition of 'course materials' that are sold to students are not GST-free.

The following are examples of course materials, and are therefore GST-free:

  • photocopied or printed educational materials that specifically relate to the course
  • recorded lectures that specifically relate to a course
  • a study guide consisting of a collection of extracts from publications and lecturers' notes
  • course notes for a particular course
  • unexposed film and developing chemicals
  • consumable art supplies
  • consumable stationery items to the extent to which they are necessary for the course
  • scalpels used by medical students in surgical operations that cannot be resharpened.

The following are examples of materials that are not course materials, and are therefore subject to GST:

  • textbooks
  • textbooks, written by lecturers at the University that are sold on and off campus
  • binders used for assignments/theses
  • musical instruments
  • lab coats
  • computers
  • calculators
  • sporting equipment.