The Lowdown on Tax Refunds in Oz

April 29, 2015

in australian taxes, superannuation, tax refunds

With pristine beaches, awesome surf, and vibrant cities, it’s easy to see why Australia is a top destination for anyone seeking adventure.

It’s not the cheapest place to live, so it’s easy to see why so many people arrive with visas that let them work to fund their travels. Given the nature of employment for travellers in Australia (i.e. people don’t work the full year, etc.), many temporary visa holders overpay taxes and are entitled to a refund.

Thankfully, there are lots of fun jobs to try in Oz, from hospitality gigs and office temping in the cities to traditional fruit picking in the Outback. Like any other country where you work, you’ll have to pay taxes; luckily, the tax story for temporary visa holders Down Under tends to have a happy ending.

Income tax

Tax in Australia is taken at source by your employer under the PAYG (Pay As You Go) scheme, and when you’re working in Australia on a temporary visa, you’ll pay between 13% and 32.5% of your wages in tax. The good news is that many temporary visa holders are entitled to a big refund.

There are a few rules to be aware of when claiming income tax in Australia—the most important is that you need to be
deemed what they call an Australian resident for tax purposes. There are many factors involved, but the most important one is that you need to have resided in Australia for 183 days, so take this into account when planning your trip.

If you spend at least 183 days in Australia, then typically it’s plain sailing to secure a refund of all or part of the taxes you paid. The other great thing about being deemed an Australian resident for tax purposes is that you will qualify for the tax-free threshold of AUD $18,200.

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Applying for a refund

The easiest way to get a refund and find out what you’re due is to use a reliable tax agent such as Taxback.com. All you need to start the process is:

  • Fill in a simple online form
  • Submit your payslips for all jobs (if you’ve lost them, com can locate them for you)
  • Send in your ID

You’ll get an estimate of your refund and, once your application is processed, you’ll get the money you’re owed returned to your account, anywhere in the world.

With Taxback.com, the average refund is AUD $2,600 for income tax—that’s a nice injection of funds to plan another holiday

Superannuation refunds:

There is another refund that temporary visa holders in Oz are also due—superannuation!

If you’ve worked in Australia, you’ll be familiar with the term superannuation or “super” for short. This is the Australian pension or retirement scheme, which sees employers making contributions for all employees to a nominated fund.

Contributions to super are compulsory in Australia, and all workers who earn in excess of AUD $450 per month will receive 9.5% of their gross salary paid into a nominated fund on their behalf (this is generally on top of your rate of pay).

These funds are typically accumulated for Australians during their working life so they can draw the funds in retirement. Temporary visa holders who don’t plan on seeking permanent residency in Australia can claim these funds when leaving Australia.

You’ll need to pay a tax of 38% of the value of the balance for taking the funds from your super early (i.e. before retirement age), but it’s still worth it as Taxback.com is securing average refunds of AUD $3,380 for temporary visa holder applicants—that’s another nice boost to the holiday fund.

This post is sponsored. Image by 401(K) 2012.

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