Filing your Australian taxes can be a daunting process; however, the following tips may help you:
1. Determine your tax residency
If you are a temporary visa holder, you should pay the non-resident tax rate during your first 6 months of residency. Although it’s a higher tax rate than the resident rate, you must ensure that you pay it to avoid having a tax liability when you leave Australia.
2. Claim your tax refunds
If you become a resident of Australia for tax purposes, you may be entitled to receive a refund of the tax you paid at the higher tax rate. There are many factors that determine if you’re an Australian resident for tax purposes, such as how long you’ve been in the country and specific actions you may have taken to establish your residency in Australia.
3. Claim your superannuation
If you’re not eligible for a refund on your income tax, you can still claim back your superannuation, which is a portion of your salary put aside for retirement. You can apply for your superannuation as soon as you leave Australia and your visa has expired.
4. Medicare levy exemption
While foreign citizens are exempt from paying the Medicare levy (Australia’s universal health scheme) it’s still deducted from their wages. You can apply for an exemption letter from this levy to boost your refund.
5. Claiming work expenses
If you have work expenses, you can minimise your tax liability as some expenses, such as tools, equipment, and travel, are tax deductible, if you paid for it yourself and it was related to your job.
The Australian financial year runs from July 1 to June 30, and a tax return must be submitted every year. Seek help from a professional tax accountant if you are unsure what you can claim.