Taxation



In Australia, you pay tax to the government on money you earn from a job, business or investment. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) collects taxes from individuals and businesses to pay for important community services like hospitals, schools, roads and railways.

The ATO provides videos at tv.ato.gov.au to help people learn about Australia’s tax and superannuation systems.
Goods and services tax

Australia has a goods and services tax (GST) of 10 percent, included in the price of most goods, services and other items sold or consumed. Some things such as basic food, most education and health services, eligible child care and nursing home care are GST-free.
Tax file number

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique number issued to individuals or organisations by the ATO. This identifies you for tax and superannuation purposes. Apply for your tax file number as soon as possible.

The fastest way to get a TFN is online at www.ato.gov.au/tfn Online registration is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You will need your passport details and an Australian address. Application forms are also available from the ATO Publication Ordering Service at www.ato.gov.au/order-publications or by phoning the tax file number Helpline on 13 28 61. You should receive your TFN by mail within 28 days from the day the ATO receives your application.

You only get one TFN. It’s yours for life and should be protected. Your TFN stays the same, even if you change your name or job, move interstate, or leave Australia and then return. Everyone needs their own TFN. Do not share your TFN with other members of your family.

Don’t store your tax file number where it can be stolen, such as in your wallet, purse or mobile phone.

Allowing someone else to use your TFN, selling it or giving it away can cause serious problems. Dishonest people can use it to:

steal your tax refund
access your bank account
open bank accounts in your name and leave you with a debt
commit fraud by applying for government benefits in your name

Only certain people are entitled to ask for your TFN, including the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, your superannuation fund, bank or financial institution, and your employer.

Beware of dishonest people (‘scammers’) who may trick you into providing your TFN on a job application. They may also try to obtain your TFN through fake job advertisements to steal your identity. Only supply your TFN to your employer after you have started your new job.
What happens if you don’t have a TFN when you get a job?

When you start work, your employer will ask you to complete a tax file number declaration form where you will need to write down your TFN.

If you do not have a TFN, you have 28 days from when you start work to apply and get your own TFN. If you do not have your own TFN after 28 days, your employer must take the maximum amount of tax from payments made to you. You can work without a TFN, but more tax will be taken from your pay and super contributions. If you don’t have a TFN, you won’t be able to lodge your tax return electronically, apply for government benefits or get an Australian business number (ABN).
Income tax return

If you earn any income in a financial year (between 1 July and 30 June), you must lodge an income tax return with the ATO by 31 October of that year.

If you use a registered tax agent to prepare your tax return, you can lodge your tax return later than 31 October. You will need to make arrangements with a tax agent before 31 October to qualify for their lodgement dates.

You can lodge your tax return yourself online at www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return. This is a free, convenient and secure service offered by the ATO. It allows the ATO to fill in parts of the tax return for you, using information provided by your employer, banks, health funds and government agencies.

To lodge your tax return online you will need a myGov account, which can be set up at my.gov.au
Tax Help

Tax Help is a free service for low income earners, available from July to October each year. Tax Help centres have volunteers trained by the ATO who can help you complete and lodge your tax return online using myTax.


Overseas assets, investments and income

Australian residents are taxed on their worldwide income and must declare all foreign income in their income tax return. Whether you are a resident of Australia for tax purposes is determined on a case-by-case basis.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has information on its website at that will help you understand your tax obligations, including tax on income from:

investments such as securities and rental properties
interest and royalties
business activities overseas
pensions from overseas
international business transactions, such as trading goods and services online.

If you have income from overseas, you must declare it even if tax was paid in the country where you earned the income. If foreign income is assessable in Australia, and you paid foreign tax on it, you may be entitled to a credit for foreign tax paid.

You must declare foreign income that is exempt from Australian tax. This foreign income may be taken into account when working out the amount of tax you owe on income you have earned in Australia. You need to declare all foreign source income, even if you were not required to pay tax on that income in the other country.

Each year the ATO matches information from income tax returns with information about offshore transactions provided to the ATO by third parties. If there is a difference between this information and the amounts shown in your income tax return, the ATO will contact you and may amend your tax returns.

If your financial affairs are complex, you may want to use a registered tax agent or to seek advice from the ATO.

For more information please go to