To work in Australia you need to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN). You must provide every employer with your TFN. If you start work without a TFN you will pay a higher tax rate and must still provide your TFN within 28 days. A TFN can be obtained online at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website www.ato.gov.au under ‘Online Individual TFN Registration’. You will need a valid passport or relevant travel documents and must be in Australia.
Working Holiday Makers are not necessarily Australian residents for taxation purposes. Non residents are liable for a higher level of taxation and there is no tax free threshold. A non-resident will pay tax on every dollar of income earned in Australia and are defined as someone whose usual home is overseas and who doesn’t intend to remain in Australia permanently. Be sure to check if you are being taxed as a non-resident. You can the government’s Determination of residency online tool to determine whether you are a resident for tax purposes or not. This can change during your time here, revisit this tool at any time.
In Australia the income year ends 30 June so if you earn an income you must lodge an Income Tax Return by October 31 of that year. When you leave a job, your employer will give you a payment summary showing your total income earned and tax deducted. Use the instructional Tax Pack from local newsagents to lodge your tax return or log on to the ATO website. Another option is to have your return prepared by a registered accountant. If you are leaving Australia before June 30 contact the ATO to see if you can lodge an early return. For information on taxation, earning interest, and superannuation visit the ATO website.
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GST is an indirect or consumption tax (of 10%) added to all goods and services in Australia. Similar to VAT or MOMs elsewhere. It’s included in the price of most items (exclusions include most foods).
The TRS, in some circumstances, lets you claim a refund for GST paid in Australia. The refund applies to goods over $300, purchased from the same store within 30 days of leaving. Keep all receipts and include the items in your hand luggage. Ask airport information staff where the TRS desk can be found in the airport you are departing and don’t forget to allow additional time for refund processing.
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