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Tax - FAQ 

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1. Can I get my tax back?

Yes, your eligibility to get your Australian taxback depends on your residency status. We have expert friendly staff in our office that can help you with any questions you have. The average tax refund is over $2000 and superannuation refund is $600. Jobs4travellers uses a registered Tax agent who are a Chartered accountants so they guarantee to get you the most tax back.

For real examples of residency go to Question 2 (i).

2. Am I a resident of Australia for tax purposes?

In order to determine your residency status we will ask you some questions and then let you know the approximate tax refund you are entitled to.
As a general guide, you will be a resident for tax purposes if the following requirements are met:
You have been or intend to be in Australia for at least 6 months or 183 days; and,
You have stayed, or intend to stay for the majority of the time, in one place(city, town etc) and have rented accommodation or stayed with family and friends.

Below are two examples showing how the classification system works. 

(i) Example of an Australian Tax Resident during 2009 Financial Year 

Jennifer enters Australia on a working visa class 417 which is valid for 12 months. She intends to visit friends and family in Sydney for the majority of her trip and stays with her friends in Sydney for 10 months. Before leaving the UK, Jennifer resigned from her employment and ended her lease over an apartment in London.

While staying in Sydney, Jennifer worked as a waitress at several restaurants and earned a total of $15,000 in the income year. Because she told her employers she was on a working holiday visa, tax has been withheld at a rate of 29% from her salary and wages. She would therefore have paid a total of $4,350 in tax ($15,000 x 29%).

Even though Jennifer came to Australia on a working holiday visa 417, her main purpose for the trip was to visit family and friends. She spent more than six months in the one place within Australia and severed most of her ties in London before she arrived (e.g. employment, apartment lease etc). The combination of these factors means she will be classified as a resident for Australian tax purposes.

Jennifer's $15,000 income will then be taxed as follows:
Amount Earned $
 Effective TaxRate     Tax $
 0 to 6,000     0%     0
 6,001 to 34,000     15%    
Because Jennifer has already paid $4,350 in tax during the year of income, she will be entitled to a refund of the difference between $4,350 and $1,530 (ie $3,000). This figure is assuming Jennifer has no tax deductions for the income year. Jennifer will not be subject to the Medicare levy of 1.5% as she has not earned over $17,309. Also when Jennifer departs Australia, she will be entitled to a refund based on her superannuation of approx $945 less fees and disbursements - a gross tax refund (Tax & Super) of $2,295.
Tax deductions such as work related expenses, tax agent fees and offsets such as remote area living allowance may significantly increase your refund (e.g. when fruit picking). Call our office for details. 

(ii) Example of a Non-resident for Australian Tax Purposes

Lucy is a British national who has longed to spend twelve months 'down under'. After saving for years, she takes twelve months leave from her work and departs for Australia on her 21st birthday. Although she travels with considerable savings, her intention is to spend at least part of her time working. She has obtained a restricted working visa enabling her to work for no more than three months with one employer.
Through a contact in Australia she is assured of work in Darwin for the first three months. After that period, she decides to travel to the east coast via Adelaide. She spends a month in Adelaide where she works for two weeks and continues her journey to Melbourne. 

Once there, she meets some friends from back home. After working for a further three months, she decides to spend the balance of her time in Melbourne and uses her savings for living expenses. To keep costs down, she leases a house with two other friends. At the end of her twelve months in Australia, she returns to the United Kingdom and resumes living in her house there, which she had been renting out while in Australia.
Why is Lucy a non-resident?

Although Lucy obtains work, by travelling from place to place she has not established a pattern of habitual behaviour, even though she is physically present in Australia for twelve months and she co-leases a house. Lucy’s main purpose for being here is to have a holiday and she is merely supplementing her savings by working. Nor does Lucy meet the 183 day test because she had a usual place of abode outside Australia and did not intend taking up residence in Australia.

3. How long will it take to get my refund?

Tax Returns made at the end of the financial year (end of June) approx 2-3 weeks
Part year taxreturns (made when you finish working) approx 5-7 weeks
Cash Back Now, with us = We send your taxrefund in 12 Hours

4. What if I cannot complete the Tax Refund Application?

Complete as many details as you can and post, fax or scan and email the form to us. If you are unable to complete your employment history we are able to contact your employers for you. If we need more information we will contact you.

5. What is a Payment (PAYG) Summary?

A Payment Summary (formerly called a Group Certificate) shows how much you earned during the financial year and how much tax has been deducted from your pay. Your employer should issue your PAYG Payment Summary within 14 days of the end of the Australian financial year (30 June). 
However, if you are leaving before the end of a financial year, you may request the PAYG Summary statement from your employer upon termination of employment. It should be sent to you within 14 days.

6. What if I do not have all my Payment Summaries?

You can apply for your tax refunds by completing and sending the Tax Refund Application. We can collect the missing documentation on your behalf. Naturally your refund process will take longer where there is missing documentation. 

IMPORTANT: Your tax return CANNOT be lodged unless ALL Payment Summaries have been received. The ATO receives copies of all Payment Summaries, so if they are not all included in the lodgement, an amended tax assessment will be issued. If this is unpaid, it will result in a high penalty, leaving a residual debt or black mark against you in Australia. So please remember to get all your Payment Summaries.
The only exception to this is if you are unable to provide a payment summary. We are able to accept a final payslip (detailing Year to Date figures) or a statement of earnings from your employer.

Remember, the quicker we receive all the necessary information, the quicker we are able to get you your refund.

7. Can I get my tax back while I'm still working?

In some situations you can. You can claim your tax back either:
At the end of the income year 30 June and/or
When you leave Australia permanently
Australian income year runs from July 1 to June 30 so you can lodge your tax return from July 1 no matter if you are still working or ceased working in Australia. 
If you would like to claim your tax back before you leave Australia permanently, you need to cease working in Australia.
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Jennifer arrives in Australia at the end of March 2008. She begins working in April 2008. From July 1, 2008, Jennifer is entitled to lodge a tax return for the time she worked from April 2008 until June 30, 2008 and she doesn't need to cease working for this income tax return. 

Jennifer then departs Australia in February 2009. She is entitled to lodge an early 2009 tax return for the income she has earned from 1 July 2008 to February 2009 (i.e., she doesn't have to wait until 1 July 2009 to lodge this return). For this early tax return she has to cease working with her current employer. 

Jennifer can also claim back the super she has earned from April 2008 to Feb 2009 when she leaves.

8. How will I be paid?

We can pay you your refund either via direct deposit into your Australian or Overseas bank account. Your refund is held in a Trust Account when it arrives from the ATO, and then it is sent directly to you.

9. Can you transfer my tax refund to my overseas bank account?

Yes. If you wish to receive your refund into your overseas bank account please fill out the foreign account details under 'banking details' section on the Refund Application.

10. How much does it cost?

We aim to get your maximum refund in the minimum time. We provide you with the Australian Tax Office Notice of Assessment (required by Chartered Accountants) this prooves our fee' s
We charge $77 per tax refund for non residents.
We charge 10% of your refund (+ GST where applicable) for tax residents with a minimum fee of $77 (including GST).
Get Cash Bach Now - No Wait, your tax refund transferred in 12 hours. The fee is 19.5% of your refund.
If you've messed your own retrun up we can put it right with an amended assesment, it is more work for us- so we charge $250 for this servcie, well worth it so that you get a refund instead of that bill!
Send us your details (Total Gross Income earned and Total Tax paid) by phone or email and we will calculate your refund and advise you of our exact fees, BEFORE you commit to us!

11. What if I am a student?

If you are a student who has been in Australia for more than 6 months you will be deemed an Australian resident for tax purposes. You can apply for your taxbak with Backpackers Buddy. And if you are departing from Australia permanently you will also be entitled to a refund of your superannuation.

12. Can I use you as my mailbox?

Yes. Where you are leaving Australia and would like to change your mailing address for employers to send PAYG Summaries and Superannuation Fund information, you can give them our tax agents address.

13. How does the tax return system work in Australia?

If you earnt income in Australia, or derived profits from the sale of assets in Australia, you are required to lodge an income tax return for the income year ending 30 June by 31 October in the same year (the Australian tax year runs from 1 July to the following 30 June). This is regardless of you being an overseas resident. Penalties may apply for late lodgements. Where you use a Registered Tax Agent you get an extension on the 31 October deadline.

14. How is Jobs4travellers tax agent different to other tax and super refund companies?

They are registered Tax Agents (no: 57819000) which means they are able to deal directly with ATO for you. They are also Chartered Accountants which is the highest possible accounting qualification in Australia, granted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australia. 
To ensure your security, they put all refund money into a trust account which is audited annually under the regulations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australia. It also means that we do not earn interest on your money, so have no reason to hold onto it. 
Our staff have detailed understanding of temporary resident tax and super issues and are willing and able to help you. 
The staff are also sensitive and understanding and can assist you with your needs.

15. How much will I receive back?

We are happy to give you a free refund estimate, but if you really want to know how it works…
The amount of tax back you receive is dependent on three factors:
The length of time you have spent in the country
Your gross earnings
The rate of tax you have been paying (Gross Tax).

This table shows the amount of tax which is taken after you make a tax return in Australia & are classified as a resident, (something we can advise on)

2008 – 2009 Financial Year
Taxable income  
  Tax on this income
 $0 – $6,000                                                           Nil- All refunded (see note on tax free threshold below)
 $6,001 – $34,000  
  15c for each $1 over $6,000
 $34,001 – $80,000
 $4,200 plus 30c for each $1 over $34,000
$80,001 – $180,000
 $18,000 plus 40c for each $1 over $80,000
 $180,001 and over    $58,000 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000
2009 – 2010 Financial Year
Taxable income
 Tax on this income
 $0 – $6,000                                                            
 Nil- All refunded (see note on tax free threshold below)
 $6,001 – $35,000                                                    
 15c for each $1 over $6,000
 $35,001 – $80,000                                                  
 $4,350 plus 30c for each $1 over $35,000
 $80,001 – $180,000                                               
 $17,850 plus 38c for each $1 over $80,000
 $180,001 and over                                               
 $55,850 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000   
So essentially a tax return results in a refund when you have paid more than these rates on the money you earned (as a visa holder you probably paid 25 -29% tax on all earnings).
There are other factors to consider, including;                                                                                         
Medicare charge (covered in this website in another article).        
The low income offset- which gives you more money back if you earned below a set level (’09 financial year is $1200).
Deductions you declare (money you spent on item for work & travel whilst at work).
Your tax free threshold- If you've been in Australia for a full 12 months in the financial year you are making the return for you will receive a full $6000 tax free threshold & will get all the tax back which you paid on these wages, for each month you were not in the country for your tax free threshold reduces by $500. (Remember in tax one day counts as a full month, so leaving the country on 1st of a month instead of the last day of the previous month gives you an additional month’s threshold.

16. Deductions explained

Money which you spend on work-related items is tax deductable; when you declare them to us we put them into your return, so that you get a higher refund.
What a deduction does is minus off the amount spent from your gross wages; this means that you have paid the same amount of tax against a lower income. Typically a deduction will result in your refund increasing by the percentage of tax you would have paid on the amount of the deduction i.e. if you are paying 15% tax and make a deduction of $100 your refund will go up by $15.

17. Top 5 Backpacker tax deductions

Remember to keep your receipts: You’ll need them if your deductions are over $300 in total. These are the 5 most common deductions made by Backpackers, remember to have a good think when you do your return…can you make a deduction?
Cost of a training course, such as RSA
Tax agent fee’s ; Our fee’s are deductible
3.    Cost of work uniforms
4.    Donations to charity  
5.    Tools for construction/knives for kitchen hands

18. Why do I pay so much Tax?

Most Backpackers tick that they are not a resident of Australia when they fill in the Tax Declaration Form. This is the form with the tick box's you get when you start a job. These people will be taxed at the non-resident rate of 29% on all money earned from the very first dollar. Don’t worry though, if by the time you leave you can be classified as a resident for tax purposed you stand to gain a much higher tax refund if you chose this option…just think of it like a big piggy bank!

19. What’s a Notice of Assessment (NOA)?

This is what comes back from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) with your refund. It shows how much you were refunded.
It can be a very interesting comparing what the ATO refunded you to what your tax agent gave you- this equals their fee (and is not always how much they'll tell you it would be!) You can order your own NOA from the ATO. Write to them at: ATO, GPO BOX 9845, Sydney, 2000. You'll need to give them your full name, date of birth, tax file number and address for them to post your NOA to.
Please note Backpackers Buddy send you a copy of your Notice of Assessment when you do a return with us.

20. I did my return myself and got little or no refund, can you help?

If you've messed your own retrun up we can put it right with an amended assesment, it is more work for us- so we charge $250 for this servcie, well worth it so that you get a refund instead of that bill!

21. I’ve left Australia can I still get my Tax Refund?

You sure can, and we are happy to help. All we need is our application form filled out and we can get any missing paperwork then prepare and submit your tax returns. We can send money to your oversees account.

22. Get GST back when you leave

When you fly out of Australia you can claim back the GST you paid on items $300 or over within 30 days of your leaving date
You do this with Customs at the airport. 

23. Tax Planning and Consulting Services

As we are registered Tax Agents and Chartered Accountants, we are able to provide tax planning and consulting services in addition to the other services you can see on our website. We will charge $85 per hour plus GST if you wish to have us undertake this work for you. Please note you will be provided with a costing estimate before work begins.

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