Filing a tax return in Australia as an international student can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow our step by step guide to get started on the process, receive tips along the way, and find additional help if needed. Here’s what you need to know when filing your Australian tax return in five easy steps.
Step 1: Confirm if you need to file an Australian tax return
If you are an international student who has a job and earns an income in Australia, it’s likely that you will need to file a tax return.
However, this doesn't necessarily mean you will owe more money. In fact, the good news is that every year thousands of international students in Australia are due a tax refund. You can claim your tax back by filing your return. The average international student tax refund with Taxback.com is $2,600.
Not only is it great that you might receive a refund, but filing a tax return also ensures that your tax affairs are in order, which is important if you ever apply for another visa for Australia.
Step 2: Determine your residency status
You are considered a resident for tax purposes if you are an international student in Australia for more than six months. If this applies to you, this means that you must declare your income on a tax return.
You will be eligible for the $18,200 tax-free threshold once you are considered a resident for tax purposes. If you earned less than $18,200 in the year and your employer had withheld tax from your payslip, you will be able to claim a tax refund for the year ending June 30th.
Step 3: Know what income you need to declare
International students in Australia do not need to declare foreign income on their tax return. They are only required to declare any income that they earn in Australia.
Step 4: Gather the documents and information you need to file a return
To file an Australian tax return there is typically only one paper you will need, or one online document to fill out- the Tax Return for Individuals. However, you will need to have the following items on hand:
- Your Tax File Number (TFN)
- Your passport
- Your payslips: make sure you keep your final payslip from each job, as this is the most important. If you are still working, you will receive a PAYG payment summary from your employer after June 30th. This details the amount you earned and the amount of tax you paid.
- Expense receipts: Keep the receipts for any work related expenses you have, such as your uniform, tools, equipment or courses.
Step 5: File before the deadline
Once you have the documents and information from above on hand, it’s time to file by the deadline of October 31st. Make sure you file prior to this date after the end of the Australian tax year on June 30th. International students in Australia can start this process by setting up a MyGov account and apply through MyTax when in Australia. For extra help you can view ATO forms and instructions, or contact a tax professional for personal assistance.