As an international student in Australia who applies for tax returns can effectively be financially rewarding. I
International students studying in Australia for more than 6 months are eligible for paying taxes as they are considered “Australian residents for tax purposes”, requiring them to declare their income and its sources while lodging for a tax return. Under Australian regulations, a total of 20 hours of job per week is assigned to global learners. This means that their total earnings will often remain within the tax-free threshold of $18,200 AUD. So, there might not be any reason to stress over taxes.
If that is the case then first begin by submitting a non-lodgement advice to the Australian Tax Office. Even if you are not filing a tax return, you have to notify the tax authorities of your circumstances.
For those whose earnings exceeds $18,200 AUD, it is mandatory to file for a tax return before the official deadline of October 31st every year (extended when done through an agent). But don’t worry, it gets better from here.
Filing for a tax return can fetch you a good portion of tax deduction and refunds. Let’s begin:
Things to remember before applying for international students ‘ tax returns
- Possess a photo ID (e.g. Passport) to confirm your identity.
- Australian financial year ends on June 30th and begins from the 1st of July every year.
- If you are filing for a paper tax return YOURSELF, then the deadline is 31st of October.
- Lodging for a tax return through a registered agent extends the deadline along with other benefits which have been detailed further below in the article.
- Ensure the eligibility of all the documents and receipts presented.
- International Students leaving Australia can also file for a tax return as the process will undergo even in their absence.
- Tax refunds and Superannuation can be refunded and collected remotely from their native country.
- Categorized as “temporary residents”, International students in Australia are only required to declare their income generated within the country alone. Any and all income earned overseas are exempt from taxes.
How International Students can file for tax in Australia and apply for tax returns? The Process:
- Get a TFN (Tax File Number)
- Create a MyGOV account and link it to the Australian Tax Office (ATO)
- Collect all the payment summaries (PAYG) and receipts from your employers.
- File for a paper tax return: or do it through a REGISTERED agent.
- Apply for deductions (as much as eligible).
- Lodge your annual tax return to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
- Get a TFN (Tax File Number)
Planning on getting a job during the holidays?
First thing any International student should do is: apply for a Tax File Number (TFN).
It functions similarly to a Social Security Card in the United States.
Failing to secure a TFN will result in hefty (47%) tax fines later.
How to get a TFN?
You can send your TFN application online through the official website of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
2. Create a MyGOV account and link it to the Australian Tax Office (ATO)
It is a quick and simple process of filing for tax return YOURSELF with an online registration through the ATO website.As prompted, create a MyGov account and have it linked with the ATO. Continue with the process by following the instructions on the screen.
3. Collect all the payment summaries (PAYG) and receipts from your employers
Collect the payment summaries from your employers (between 30th of June and 14th of July) for the details of your earnings along with all the tax you have already paid to the government. This helps to cement your eligibility while claiming for tax deduction when you have overpaid your taxes.
Don’t have all the receipts?
In this scenario it would be best to talk to an accountant. They can provide helpful insights on your eligibility to claim tax deductions legally on certain expenses even without the receipts.
4. File for a paper tax return: or do it through a REGISTERED agent
It is a fairly simple process if you choose to do it yourself but the results will be better significantly while hiring a registered agent.
You can also claim a refund on the agent fees.
5. Apply for deductions (as much as eligible)
International students in Australia can claim a tax deduction on all the expenses incurred on their living and learning materials such as: books, computers and mobile phones, clothing and footwear:
along with the expenses made- having to fulfill their professional needs- such as buying uniforms, safety gear, tools and equipment, etc,.
A good percentage of those can be refunded by applying for tax returns.
Consult a registered agent for accurate evaluation.
6.Lodge your annual tax return at the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Finally, be sure to lodge your with all the authentic required documents before the deadline.
The refunding process should take anywhere from 2 weeks .