It’s amazing that in Australia you can get a Working Holiday Visa and fund your travels by getting a job. Unfortunately, you have to pay tax on your wages. But no stress: you can claim everything you’ve earned up to $18200 at the end of each tax year or when you leave the country. But how do you get your tax back in Australia?
In our blogpost Working Holiday Visa: Save money fast we already mentioned that we were planning to write a blogpost about getting your tax back as a backpacker in Australia. It’s the end of the financial year in Australia, so a good time to write our post and help you out with getting your tax back! This may be the most boring article ever published on our blog, but we know a lot of backpackers struggle with the whole tax return thing in Australia – just like we did.
Make sure you are eligible to claim your tax back, which you are if you can answer yes to one of the following questions:
Have you been in Australia or intend to stay for a minimum of 6 months of the tax year (1 july -30 june)?
Have you worked for one employer continiously for 4 months or 2 employers consistently for 5 months?
How to get your tax back in Australia?
When we googled “Tax refund Australia backpackers” we got so many hits with tax agents and all sorts of services that would give me the best deal to get our tax back. We just wanted information on how to do it ourselves. All these provided services made it seem as if it would be too difficult to do it on our own. Eventually we went to the Australia Taxation Office website, and found that it wasn’t rocket science after all.
What do you need?
- Your Tax File Number
- Your Passport
- Your phone number
- The address you’ve registered your tax file number on
- Your tax summary or all your payslips from each employer
MyTax, myGov and ATO
The easiest and fastest way to fill in your tax information to get your tax back is using myTax, an online service on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). To get this there are a few steps you need to follow:
- Know your Tax File Number (TFN) and one of the following identity documents: birth certificate, passport or citizen certificate. If you don’t have a TFN, apply for one.
- Create a myGov account if you don’t already have one.
- Call the ATO at 13 28 61 and press 5 to get your unique linking code to verify your account.
- Sign into myGov, go to the services page and link to ATO. Select “I have a linking code” and follow the instructions.
- Have your payslips or tax summaries from your employers by hand. These are normally sent out to you at the beginning of July.
- Lodge your tax return
After you’ve created a MyGov-Account and linked it to the ATO, you can lodge your tax return. On the website you just have to click on Lodge my Tax. First you need to update your contact details and bank account number. They will ask if you’ve been in Australia the whole tax year. Click no if you haven’t been in Australia for the whole tax year and fill in the dates you were in Australia.
The next page will be about your financial institution details. Check if the pre filled information (if it’s there) is correct and change it’s incorrect. Once everything is correct, you can sign the declaration and claim your tax back!
When do you claim your tax back?
Tax returns cover the financial year from July the 1st to June the 30th. From the 1st of July you can ask your tax back. You have until October the 31st to claim your tax back. If you claim your tax back in August or September, your information will already be in the tax form for you.
Claiming tax back early
If you’re leaving Australia to go back home, you are probably able to claim your tax back early. They only accept early lodgment of tax returns before the end of the income year if you are:
- a foreign resident for tax purposes and you are leaving Australia permanently and will no longer get income from Australian sources.
To get your tax back early, you’ll need to:
- Get a copy of the individual tax return instructions.
- Get a payment summary from all your employers and any other details you’ve earned while in Australia. Payslips are not sufficient.
- If you have any debts you have to contact ATO to discuss general requirement.
You can find all the further information you need on the ATO website about early lodgment of tax.
Hopefully this article was useful! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.