You might think that you don’t need to lodge your tax returns if you’re a student, or that you’re not working so don’t have any taxable income – but you are WRONG. Whether you’re a regular student, a student on a gap year, working part-time, doing casual work, or studying in any other capacity, you could be eligible for a tax refund. It is necessary to assess your situation.
In Australia, the tax rules are complicated and you require a tax agent to understand them for you to make sure you don’t come under ATO’s radar. We have compiled some basic tips to help you get a gist of what being a student and a taxpayer means and what you need to do:
• Figuring out your Residency Status: If you’re born in Australia and continue to live in the country, you’re an Australian resident for tax purposes. If you’re an international student who’s living in Australia for over 6 months, you are an Australian resident for tax purposes. You must speak to a tax agent if you’re unsure of your residency status.
• Your Entitlements: You’re entitled to a tax-free threshold if you’re an Australian resident for tax purposes. This means that you don’t pay any income tax if your total taxable income for a year is $18,200 or less. In fact, you might be eligible for a refund. For instance, if you are working part-time or on a casual basis, your employer may have deducted tax on your income – which you can claim back when filing your tax returns. FYI, the tax your employer withholds is called PAYG. Look for it in your payslip and you’ll know! And remember, even if you have no income, you might have to lodge a “non-lodgement advice.”
• Claiming Study Expenses: Did you know that the ATO allows you to claim deductions for education costs if you’re studying a course that applies to the skills in your current occupation – if you’ve already started a career before/alongside your studies. These are self-education expenses. For example, if you’re working in an accountancy firm and studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Major: Accounting), most likely you’ll be able to claim deductions such as course fees, textbooks, stationery, travel costs, depreciation (on computers etc.).
• Claiming Work-Related Expenses: If you’re working alongside your studies, you may be eligible to claim work-related expenses. One thing to keep in mind is that these can only be claimed if your employer has not reimbursed you for these expenses. For a full-list of work-related expenses, check out ATO’s information sheet here. ATO scrutinises such claims with great detail, so it’s best to chat with a tax agent if you think you might be entitled to claiming these deductions.
• Claiming Tax Offsets: You may be eligible to claim a beneficiary tax offset if you receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy payments or other Commonwealth education/training programs. If you’re a student who’s also running a small business, you might be eligible for small business income tax offset. This is quite complex so must seek specialist advice if you think you might be eligible to claim tax offsets.
If you’re a student, first of all, make sure you have a Tax File Declaration Number and know how to navigate your tax, and then ensure that you speak to a tax agent about your situation.
OUR OFFER FOR YOU
As your registered tax agent, we can help you understand all tax-related terms and conditions, including HECS & HELP loan schemes, and even support you if you’re doing your tax for the first time. We will help you figure out your residency status according to the ATO, the tax rate applicable to you and filing accurate tax return to ensure you get all the refunds you’re entitled to as soon as possible.
We offer tax support and financial advice to students throughout the year, including on various tax issues related to part-time work, working holidays, residency issues, tax-saving tips and late tax returns.
All you have to invest is from $50* to get your maximum tax returns and gain benefits on the tax you pay. What’s more, we also offer a referral program exclusively for students. Refer a friend and if they choose us as their tax agent, you earn a chance to get an additional $10 discount on your tax return.
If you’re a student and have a tax case more than the basic tax return, you’ll still be eligible for a 20% discount from us.
Either way, whether a simple or a complicated case, we’re here to help students!
*terms and conditions apply as per the individual tax situation.