The Australian tax year is July 1st to June 30th, after this date you can claim back any tax which you have incorrectly paid. There are numerous companies who offer to do it on behalf of backpackers for a fee. Rather than pay a company to handle your tax rebate you should just do it yourself or at least attempt to. It should take you around 30 minutes to complete.
Before you get started make sure you have the following to hand:
- Tax file number
- Your banking information
- Yearly payment summaries (if the companies you have worked for have not automatically sent you the summaries then ask for them)
Firstly go to myGov
Enter your email address and confirm you agree to the terms and conditions. Then click Next.
Go to your email and get the comfiration code which should have been sent to you. Put the code into the ‘Confirmation code’ textbox, then click Next.
Then enter your mobile phone number and create a password.
Then choose some secret questions and answers. If none of the default questions appeal to you then click the option ‘Write my own question’, this option is highlighted in blue in the screenshot below.
After succesfully creating your account click the ‘Next’ button. In the below screenshots I have blanked out some of my details.
Go to myGov
Enter your email address and password.
A confirmation number will have been sent to your phone, enter it into the textbox below.
Click the ‘Services’ button.
Click the green button to the right of ‘Australian Taxation Office’.
I originally clicked the optipn ‘No I do not have an ATO online account’, after clicking this option you have to fill in your tax file number and some personal details. Unfortunately I then got an error message saying the system was unable to link my myGov account to the ato system.
To rectify this error call 132 861, select option 5. Tell the individual you are a backpacker who has not done an Australian tax return application before. Request a linking code. You will have to provide them with your tax file number and passport number.
Then repeat stages 7 and 8. This time select the option ‘I have a linking code’.
Enter your tax file number and linking code. Then agree to the terms and conditons.
Go to ato, click the ‘Login’ button and choose the option ‘Individual’.
Click the ‘Lodge’ button (the text is bright blue).
You need to confirm your contact details are correct. Mine were not, my address was the first hostel I stayed in. My phone number was the hostels number. If your details are not correct click on the’myGov Update your details’ link. In the below screenshots I have blanked out some of my details.
Then enter your Australian bank details. Make sure you do not get confused between your superannuation account and your normal account.
You then have to work out if you were an Australian resident for tax purposes. Having an Australian Working Holiday visa does not neccesarily mean you were an Australian resident for tax purposes.
You pay far less tax if you were an Australian resident for tax purposes. For this reason quite a few backpackers who were not an Australian resident for tax purposes just lie and say they were.
The ato site explains what criteria you have to meet to be an Australian resident for tax purposes.
In my two Australian jobs I was paid hourly hence why I ticked the options ‘You recieved salary, wages or other income on a payment summary, or Australian Goverment payments’ and ‘Salary, wages, allowances, tips, bonuses etc. (including lump sum A, B,D or E payments)’.
Both my jobs paid 9% into my superannuation account hence why I ticked the options ‘You had income from Australian superannuation or annuity funds’ and ‘Income streams (including lump sum in arrears)’.
In theory the more money you make, the more you will pay in tax. In some instances you can say something along the lines of, ‘I made $24,000 but you can only tax me on $23,500 because $500 went on thsese special items’. Special items can includes purchases such as clothing with your company logo on.
If you have or think you may have purchased special items then click the options ‘You had deductions you want to claim, or tax losses from earlier income years’ and ‘Other deductions, or losses from earlier income years’.
Click the ‘Add/ Exit’ button next to ‘Payment Summaries’ (the button I have highlighted blue in the below picture).In the below screenshot I have blanked out some of my details.
Then identify which job you made most money from, then choose what occupation that job comes under. In my case both my jobs in Australia were as bar attendants. In the below screenshots I have blanked out some of my details.
If you have or think you may have purchased special items then click the ‘Add/ Exit’ button next to ‘Deductions, or tax losses from earlier incomes years” (the button I have highlighted red in the below picture).
Then find the category your specail item falls under and enter the cost of the item.
Stage 18 confused me slighty so before answering these questions I did a bit of research.
Then click the ‘Add/ Edit’ button next to the text ‘Medicare levy exemption or reduction’ (the button is unfortunately not visible in the below screenshot).
The UK and Australia has a reciporal health agreement and becuase of this I signed up to medicare. For this reason I did not think category 2 applied to me, category 1 and 3 certaintly did not apply to me, hence why I clicked no for the ‘Medicare levy exemption’ question.
I do not have private health insurance so ticked so no for the ‘Medicare level surcharge (MLS’ question.