The Australian Tax System (+ Getting Your TFN and Superannuation)

Posted on 5 October 2016

When you are working in Australia, you need a Tax File Number (TFN) to participate in the Australian Tax System. If you don't get a TFN you can still work in Australia, but you will have to pay more tax which you can not retrieve back later. You also need a TFN to get superannuation. You can get your Tax File Number via Go to the left menu and click on Get a Tax File Number. You have to be inside Australia and have a working visa at the moment you apply for your TFN. 

Click on Migrants & Visitors and then apply online. In total the application takes about 20 minutes and you need your passport details and a valid address in Australia where the government can send your TFN to. Normally it takes about 10 days to get your TFN sent to you but it might take up to 28 days. If you can't stay 10 days on one place you can also get your TFN later by calling 13 28 61 and provide them your details. I did that and it was no problem at all, the calling agent just gave me my Tax File Number by telling it after verifying my information. When you are starting work you have to fill out a tax form that your employer provides to you. You can either choose to pay tax as a resident (even if you are not a resident), which will result in a higher direct pay but also a higher tax rate.


You will get less tax back later if you apply for your taxback in July. But if you are in need of money and don't care you eventually pay more tax, this might be a good option. When you choose to pay tax as a migrant or visitor, more tax of your salary is taken away at the moment of pay, but you will almost get everything back in July when you apply for the Taxback. You will pay less tax eventually than a resident, but you have to wait for your money until July. You will still get about 70% of your normal salary directly paid to you though, and you don't have to worry about fines if the government finds out you are not a resident and are using the residents tax system. If you are earning more than $450 a month, your employer will pay Superannuation for you. This is money that comes available to you when you retire or (if you are a temporary visitor) when you leave Australia. Super is an addition to your own salary (9%) and is paid into a superfund.


This can either be the fund that your bank uses or a fund that is used by your employer. If you want to use your banks fund, you will have to ask for a form to fill out and give it to your employer when you start work. If you want to stick to your employers fund, you generally don't have to do anything but sign their form.


When you leave Australia you can get your Super back via an online application on this website. If you worked for more than one employer you might have different superfunds, in that case you have to fill out an application for each fund.


So best to make it easy for yourself and use your banks superfund. For more info on Tax call 1800 669 at Peterpans


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