Australia attracts immigrants for a range of reasons. Some people travel to Australia solely to study or work there for a short while, while others intend to settle there permanently.

If you are planning to live, work or travel in Australia, there are important points you need to know about your tax obligations. This guide will outline all you need to know about your Australian tax requirements and entitlements.


Australia has a ‘pay-as-you-go’ (PAYG) withholding tax regime (similar to PAYE in the UK and Ireland) – in short, employers collect tax from the payments they make to employees and contractors and send it to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Australia has a progressive tax system, which means that your tax bill increases with your income. The good news is that you can make up to $18,200 a year without paying taxes! The Australian tax rates begin to apply after what is known as the tax-free threshold; see below for further information on these rates.

What do I need to have to start a job in Australia

To be able to work in Australia you must obtain a Tax File Number or, if you are self-employed, an Australian Business Number. A tax file number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems in Australia.

To avoid being emergency taxed when you start working you must provide your Tax File Number (TFN) to your employer within the first 30 days of starting work. Read more about TFN and ABN here.

Am I to pay tax in Australia?

The answer is – Yes

Your employer is in charge of deducting the correct amount of tax from your earnings based on your residency status for tax purposes.

Individual tax rates for residents are as follows:

The above rates do not include the Medicare levy of 2%.

Non-resident or foreign residents for tax purposes (individuals who spent less than 6 months in Australia) are to pay a higher amount of tax – starting from 32.5% of gross income.

What are the differences between Australian residents and non-residents for tax purposes?

Australia taxes you differently based on whether you are an Australian tax resident or a non-resident. These differences can make a significant impact on the after-tax profits one receives.

The main requirement to be deemed a resident for tax purposes is that you have continuously resided in Australia for a period of 183 days (6 months). If you spend less than the required time, you will be deemed a non-resident for tax purposes and you need to pay a higher tax rate, plus you are unable to use the tax-free threshold in your tax return and pay tax on each dollar you earn Down Under.

Working Holiday Makers are generally regarded as non-residents for tax purposes (unless they demonstrate significant residential behavior and appropriate relationships in Australia) and have special tax rate withholdings that start from 15% and progress to 32.5% + a fixed amount for income over $45,000.

Do I have to file a tax return in Australia?

The short answer is yes. Everyone who lives and works in Australia is required to declare their earnings. It makes no difference how many hours you work or the type of visa you hold

Irrespective of the income earned, anyone who works in Australia is expected to file a tax return at the end of the fiscal year.

What documents will I need to file my tax return?

To file your tax return, you will need the following documents, therefore, it is important to keep them safe.

  • Your final pay slip from each job you worked in
  • If you are self-employed, you will need invoices for each job you completed
  • You will need proof of Australian address, this can be found on bank statements or utility bills
  • Receipts from work-related expenses, e.g. certain work uniforms or work courses
  • Home office expenses receipts

Tax return deadline

The Australian financial year runs from July 1 to June 30, and the deadline to file your tax return and claim a refund is October 31.

Tax returns for the previous fiscal year may be submitted at any time between July 1 and October 31. You may be subject to a penalty if you do not file your tax return within this timeframe.

You can make an early statement if your visa expires before the end of the fiscal year or if you plan to depart the country before June 30.

Certified accountants and tax agents benefit from tax filing extensions. These extensions can help you avoid penalties and fines for not lodging your tax return on time.

What happens if I don’t file a tax return?

It’s important to file your tax return before the tax deadline – 31 October. because, if you miss the deadline, you may incur fines and penalties from the Australian Tax Office.

If your tax affairs are not in order, your future visa applications could be negatively affected.

How to file my Australian tax return

You can file your tax return with the Australian Taxation Office directly on your own. The disadvantage of this is that you will have to deal with overwhelming and tricky tax paperwork, and you may not avail yourself of all the tax deductions that you are entitled to. It will be your full responsibility to file a compliant tax return with the ATO.

Make use of a tax expert’s assistance. The tax experts from Taxback.com can give you experienced tax advice and help. They will handle all of the paperwork, send your maximum refund directly into your bank account anywhere in the world, and keep you in compliance with the ATO.


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