Embarking on a working holiday in Australia requires you to know certain pieces of information. Two options in visa subclass can help with your plan. First is the 417, which is known as the Working Holiday. The second one is the 462, which is the Work and Holiday, which is popularly called the “Backpackers.”
Under the Visa Subclass 417, working holidaymakers are given a temporary visa. This visa entitles you to go on a holiday while working part-time (or even full-time) in Australia. You can fulfil your plans and stay in the country up to a whole year. Aside from this benefit, you can also:
- Work in Australia up to six months per employer
- Depart and come back to the country in an unlimited number of times as long as the visa is valid
- Study in the country up to four months
As for Visa Subclass 462, it is a visa for work and holidaymakers similar to 417. It also provides the same benefits. However, the difference is that you can get another Work and Holiday visa again. It is applicable for those who have worked in Northern Australia for three months in the following industries:
To know the current status of your visa, you can check it with Visa Entitlement Verification Online.
Your Residency Status and Taxes
A huge factor in how you will be taxed in the country is whether or not you are a resident. Working holidaymakers are not considered residents for tax purposes. There are a few differences when you are a resident or a non-resident. Let us take a look:
- Non-residents will have to pay 15% on their first $37,000 income.
- Meanwhile, residents will not pay on their first $18,200.
- Once residents reach $18,200 to $37,000, they will be required to pay 19% of that income.
Before non-residents start working, it is important to find a registered employer first. Some employers do not accept working holidaymakers, which is why you need to ensure it first. Registered employers will start charging 15% off your income up to $37,000.
Meanwhile, if you work with a non-registered employer, be aware that the taxes are much higher with them. Non-residents will have to pay 32.5% on the same amount of income. This high percentage should already convince you to work with registered employers only.
At a fiscal point of view, you are considered a resident after you have lived in the same place in the country for six months. It does not mean that you should be in the same address though. As long as it is the same city or area, you are considered a resident. However, you need to prove it.
Declaring yourself as a resident can be quite complex but it can provide you with certain benefits. For one, residents pay less tax than non-residents. The first level of taxation begins at $18,200. Therefore, if you earn less than the mentioned threshold and you have been living in the same city for six months, all taxes will be refunded.
Tax Rates as a Working Holidaymaker in Australia
One important thing to note about working in Australia is that the tax will be withheld from your pay. It is also necessary that you lodge a tax return every year. Whether you get the visa subclass 462 or 417, you will always be considered a non-resident, which will be used for tax purposes.
Backpackers were once considered as residents in Australia for tax purposes. However, it is no longer the case in the country. Even if you plan to stay more than six months in Perth or any city, it will not matter anymore. Before the change, backpackers were allowed to claim residency even if they only stayed for six months in a single area.
Since January 2017, working holiday makers have been treated as foreign people or residents. Therefore, if you will enter as a backpacker in the country, you can no longer claim the tax-free threshold just like with Australian residents.
Meanwhile, companies that want to employ foreigners should register as employers and apply using a specific form.
Taking a look back at the tax rates, you will be taxed 32.5% if you are a non-resident. Therefore, if you earn up to $90, you will have to pay 32.5c for every one dollar you earn.
On the other hand, as a resident, your taxable income from $18,201 to $37,000 will be equivalent to 19c for every dollar over $18,200. If you earn $37,001 to $90,000, your tax is $3,572 + 32.5c for every one dollar over $37,000.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
You may be wondering if you need to worry about Medicare levy as well. Australian residents are deducted 2% from their taxable income for Medicare levy. If you are from Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and certainother countries, you will have to pay the levy. It is due to the reciprocal health agreement of Australia with these countries.
However, as a foreign resident, you are exempted from this charge.
If you get deducted for the levy from your wages, you may need to get an exemption letter so you are entitled to a refund. Finding out that you have been paying for the levy yet you qualify for an exemption can be frustrating. You can get the help you need by starting your online tax return here.
Aside from Medicare, you may also want to know about your Tax File Number (TFN). It is your reference number that applies to both tax and superannuation systems. It is your number for life, even though you may change your name or job. The TFN should always be kept securely.
TFNs, unlike what many people may claim, are not entirely necessary. However, you will have to pay more tax if you do not own this number. You cannot apply for government benefits without a TFN. Lodging a tax return online is not possible without your TFN and you cannot get an Australian Business Number (ABN) without it.
You can only get a TFN if you have a valid passport and a registered Australian address. It is the location where your TFN will be delivered. After applying, you will receive the number in 28 days.
How to Claim Your Tax Back from a Working Holiday
Working holidaymakers in Australia should need to lodge a tax return, which is a requirement for both residents and non-residents. Tax returns are based on the financial year from the first of July to the 30th of June the following year. If you lodge your tax return, you should send it before the 31st of October.
Tax returns should be filed if you earn an Australian income, which denotes the following:
- Earnings from employment
- Income for renting out a space or apartment
- Australian pensions
- Capital gains
The income year in Australia ends on the 30th of June every year. You should lodge your tax return, which will give you the peace of mind that you have paid the right amount of tax to the government. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will work out how much you should pay taxes based on your income for that particular year.
If you have paid more than you owe, you will get a tax refund. On the other hand, if you underpaid your taxes, you will have to settle the amount you did not pay.
It can be a bit difficult for non-residents to complete their tax returns. It may be useful to get all the help you need. You can ignore the income from which withholding taxes have been deducted. These things include bank interest. It always helps to lodge a tax return early if you plan to leave Australia before the 30th of June.
Here is one more piece of useful information you need to know. Like Australian residents, you have to pay superannuation as well. It is a system that collects funds to replace your income when you retire. You need to be over 18 and have an income of over $450 monthly (before taxes) to qualify. Your employer will have to pay 9.5% of the equivalent amount to your super fund.
Students working in the country will also be required to pay superannuation. When you leave the country, however, you can reclaim your funds provided that you meet all the requirements under Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).
On average, the refund for superannuation is more than $1,900.
It is possible to get some of the taxes you have paid as a working holidaymaker in Australia. However, it is not systematic. The taxes you have paid for will be calculated on an annual basis. Your employer takes a certain amount each time you get paid. It is normal to find that adjustments should be made at the end of the year.
An important criterion that impacts your tax return is your residency status. When lodging your tax return you need to present the final payslips of Group Certificate, PAYGs, or Statement of Earnings. You should also have your TDN by now, along with your details.