- What is a Tax File Number (TFN)?
- Why do I need to pay taxes when I’m not a PR/Australian citizen?
- Why do I need a TFN?
- How to apply for a TFN?
- How long does it take to get an TFN?
- What if I lost my TFN?
- What is a TFN declaration?
- How to apply for a TFN declaration?
As an international student in Australia, balancing study and work is a norm for most students. Getting a job means having to pay taxes. Lodging tax returns and paying tax may seem daunting at first, but it is relatively simple process once you have an understanding of it.
What is a Tax File Number (TFN)?
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), a TFN is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems. It is a unique 9-digit number.
Why do I need to pay taxes when I’m not a PR/Australian citizen?
If you are enrolled in a course in Australia for more than 6 months, you will be regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes. This means you will have to declare your income on a tax return and pay tax on your income at the same rate as other residents.
Why do I need a TFN?
While it is not compulsory for international students to have a TFN, international students are still encouraged to get one. This is because you may be paying more tax than required if you are employed and do not have a TFN. Without a TFN, 46.5% of your wages will be withheld by the Australian government. Besides, you may also miss out on other benefits of the Australian tax system, such as tax offsets and the tax-free threshold.
How to apply for a TFN?
The good news is that it is free to apply for a TFN!
Applying for a TFN as an international student is a relatively simple and straightforward process. Simply complete the online TFN application through the ATO website (https://iar.ato.gov.au).
You will need the following information when applying for a TFN:
- passport or travel document number
- country of origin of your passport or travel document (the nationality country on your visa)
- names (exactly as they are printed on your passport or travel document)
- any other names you use or are known by
- date of birth (exactly as printed on your passport or travel document)
- spouse details
- existing TFN, Australian business number (ABN) or Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN)
- residential and postal addresses (your postal address must be in Australia)
- contact details (phone number and email address)
Tips: You cannot apply for a TFN if you do not have a valid visa. It is important to keep a record of your application reference number for application tracking purposes. You must also be in Australia to apply for a TFN.
How long does it take to get an TFN?
Once the online application is completed, the ATO will post your TFN notification letter through mail to your Australian postal address within 28 days. Please do not lodge another application within this time frame, as well as to prevent any delays in the processing period. You will receive an email or phone call if there are any issues in your application. If you do not receive your TFN notification letter after 28 days, contact the ATO for more information.
Tips: After receiving your TFN, it is important to keep your TFN and all your personal information secure to prevent identity theft and fraud.
What if I lost my TFN?
If you have lost your TFN, contact the ATO as soon as possible. If you are unsure if you currently have one, you can find it online through your myGov account that is linked to the ATO. If you do not have a myGov account, you can usually locate your ATO on:
- your income tax notice of assessment, if you have lodged a tax return
- letters you have received from us, such as a statement of account
- a payment summary or income statement (provided by your employer)
- your superannuation account statement
- contacting the ATO or your registered tax agent
What is a TFN declaration?
A TFN declaration is a form that is required by your employer, which tells them your TFN number and to determine the amount of tax to withhold from your wages. Your employer will use this information to provide your TFN to your superannuation fund so your superannuation contributions will be accepted, and the correct tax will be paid on them.
How to apply for a TFN declaration?
You can download the TFN declaration form from the ATO website (https://www.ato.gov.au/uploadedFiles/Content/IND/Downloads/TFN_declaration_form_N3092.pdf). You will need to hand in the form in A4 size to your employer after completing it.
There are three ways to complete your TFN declaration form:
- Filling your pre-filled form through ATO online services
- Filling in your form on screen
- Filling in your form by hand
Tips: You should give your TFN to your employer only after you start work for them. Do not give your TFN in a job application or over the internet.
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