Backpackers: Tax in Australia

Online Tax Service for Backpackers in Australia

Holiday makers who travel and work in Australia temporarily, such as backpackers, should bear in mind that tax is taken from the money they earn working here.

Before you start work in Australia, you must have permission from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) – phone 13 18 81.

Your tax depends on how much you earn, whether you have a tax file number (TFN) and give it to your employer, and whether you are a resident for tax purposes.

When you start work your employer will ask you to complete a tax file number (TFN) declaration.

You don’t need to have or quote a tax file number, but not quoting one means that you may pay tax at the highest marginal rate.

You can apply for a tax file number using the Tax Office’s free online registration system at www.ato.gov.au 24 hours a day seven days a week. It normally takes around 10 days to be sent to your Australian address.

Your tax file number is unique and private, so please do not share it with friends or provide it over the internet when applying for jobs.

If you apply for a TFN and provide it to your employer within 28 days of starting work, you will be taxed at the normal rate that applies to your income.

When you finish working for an employer, ask them for a payment summary as you will need this to complete your tax return.

If you are travelling within Australia, make sure you give each of your employers an address where they can send your payment summary at the end of each income year.

Lodging a tax return:
You generally need to lodge a tax return after the end of the financial year. The financial year in Australia ends on 30 June.

Don’t forget to lodge your tax return by 31 October 2006 or visit a registered tax agent before 31 October 2006 if you did not go to that tax agent last year, or will be going to a different tax agent this year.

If you are leaving Australia before the end of our financial year (30 June), phone the Tax Office on 13 28 61 or visit any ATO shopfront to find out how you can lodge your tax return before you leave.

Alternatively, backpackers can use My Online Tax, an Australian online tax service available andywhere in the world. You get the return started with income and relevant details and we finish the return for you.

By D Maynard
CEO My Tax Zone

Copyright 2014. My Tax Zone.