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Filing A Tax Return in Australia

Most international students choose to work during their time in Adelaide to cover the cost of their living expenses. If you are working in Australia and are getting paid, you should have already set up a Tax File Number (TFN) and will probably have to pay tax to the Australian Government.

International students look forward to tax return time as many will get money back after completing their tax return. Tax returns cover the financial year, from 1 July to 30 June, and are due by the 31 October deadline. Students on a student visa can only work 20 hours a week, and are likely to earn under the tax-free threshold of $18,200.

To help you submit your tax return in Australia, here are a few tips:

Am I an Australian resident for tax purposes?

If you are enrolled to study in Australia in a course or program that lasts for six months or more, you are generally regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes. This means that you will be paying tax on your earnings at the same rate as other residents!

Do I have to file a tax return?

If you have been paid for working in Australia, it is likely that you will need to file a tax return. There are some circumstances where you might not have to file a tax return. Click here to use the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) interactive application to determine whether you need to lodge a tax return this year.

Even if you are not filing a tax return, you will still need to inform the ATO. Find out how to do that here.

How to file a tax return?

There are several ways for students to file a tax return. The simplest and quickest way is online at myTax. You just have to create a myGov account and link it to the ATO. More information on that can be found here.

Students can also:

What do I need to know?

  • You will need your Tax File Number (TFN) to file your tax return
  • You will also need your PAYG payment summary (if you have more than one job you will get a summary for each job). A PAYG (Pay as You Go) payment summary is a document that should be provided to you by your employers, and will outline details of the amount you have earned and the amount you have been taxed. This information is what you will use to fill out your tax return form. Make sure every employer over the last financial year has your current address as they will send it to you in July.
  • The ATO has a list of tax deductions – some might be available to you and will enable you to get tax offset.
  • Filing a tax return is your own responsibility (no one else can do it for you – except a registered tax agent you have authorised!)
  • If you are not sure, ask! The ATO provides support via telephone on 132 861. There are also free interpretation services available.

Over to you

Now, what should I spend my tax return on? Any ideas?

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