Tax and Superannuation

What you need to know about Australia’s tax and superannuation obligations and how they apply to international students.

As an employee in the Australian workforce, you must adhere to our strict tax and superannuation obligations. See below some common terms and how they relate to international students living in Australia.

Tax and tax file numbers

In Australia, if you work, earn money or hold an Australian bank account, you must have a tax file number (TFN). A TFN is unique to you and is yours for life.

If you have been studying for less than six months, you may not be eligible for a TFN.

For more information and to apply for a free TFN, visit the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

Resident for tax purposes

Even if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you may be a resident for tax purposes. Residents for tax purposes must pay tax in Australia and can claim deductions.

If you have been studying for less than six months, you may not be a resident for tax purposes.

Find out if you are a resident for tax purposes by visiting the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website or by contacting your education institution.

Income Tax

If you qualify as a resident for tax purposes, you are required to pay tax on your Australian income. This is taxed at the same rate as all other Australians.

In Australia, tax is only payable on the amount you earn above $18,200. Anything below this amount is called the tax-free threshold.

For more information about Australia’s tax brackets, visit the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

Lodging a tax return

If you are a resident for tax purposes or earn an income while living in Australia, it is likely you will need to lodge a tax return or non-lodgement advice with the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

For more information about lodging a tax return, visit the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

Superannuation

Superannuation, commonly known as ‘super’, is a type of retirement savings in Australia.

If you work in Australia, your employer must make superannuation contributions on your behalf. When you leave Australia, you may be eligible to claim that super back as a departing Australian superannuation payment (DASP) .

For more information about superannuation, visit the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website

Staying for less than six months

If you are enrolled in a course that lasts for a maximum of six months and you intend to leave Australia at the conclusion of your course, it is likely that you are a non-resident for tax purposes and do not need to adhere to Australia’s tax and superannuation obligations.

For more information, visit the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

Working in Australia after you graduate
If you're interested in staying in Australia to work after you graduate, you'll need to apply for a new working visa before your current student visa expires. As a graduated international student, you may be eligible:

  • For the Post-Study Work stream of the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) if you have completed a Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degree at an Australian institution.
  • To submit an expression of interest through the Australian Government's SkillSelect program seeking approval to stay in Australia as a professional worker.
  • For state or territory government nominations for skilled and business migration.

For more information on working in Australia after you graduate, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

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