Claiming Back Your Tax and Superannuation When Leaving Australia
Claiming back your tax and superannuation when leaving Australia may not be the most exciting of jobs, but it can be easily done. Follow this guide and you will avoid paying something to do something which you can easily do by yourself.
You’ve had the time of your life in Australia. You’ve seen and done things you’d never even imagine you would get to do. You’ve driven across a beach in a 4×4, discovered the lesser known beaches in Sydney and explored the bays across Magnetic Island. However, your time has come to an end and it’s time to leave Australia. It’s a time everyone on their working holiday visa dreads. I’ve not met one person who doesn’t come to Australia and fall in love with the place.
You may or may not have worked hard during your time in Australia, but I’m guessing you probably have worked. With work, comes the deduction of taxes. Also, in Australia, they have something called superannuation (don’t worry if that word is totally alien to you, it was to me at one point), which is basically Aussie’s pension savings. Employers pay, what’s usually 9.5%, on top of your regular wages, into a superannuation account. The great news is, as we’re leaving the country permanently, we can claim this back. It’s basically free money.
Claiming back overpaid taxes and money from your superannuation account may be boring as hell, but it could provide you with much-needed funds for some future travels, post-Australia. There are many companies who will do everything for you, for a fee. However, trust me, it’s easy enough to do it yourself and avoid paying any fees at all.
Just follow these step-by-step guides, and you will have your money in your account before you know it.
How to Claim Back Tax When Leaving Australia
Like I mentioned above, why pay a company to claim your tax back for you, when you can do it by yourself easily enough. I’ll tell you how you can claim your tax back when you’re leaving Australia and avoid paying any fees at all.
The Australian tax year runs from 1st July until 30th June. When you leave Australia, it will more than likely mean you will have to lodge an early tax return.
Please read through the tax return instructions on the Australian Tax Office website, prior to completing any tax return. Rules often change in regards to taxes. By having a quick read of the instructions you will avoid any unnecessary delays.
How to Claim Your Tax Back Early – Step-By-Step Guide
- Read through the instructions on the ATO website
- Obtain a copy of your PAYG payment summary from each employer from that tax year. This can usually be done by contacting the payroll department. Please note – payslips cannot be used to claim tax back. Payment summaries will include all the necessary information the ATO will require (dates of employment, total pay and total tax paid). UPDATE – For a 2016/17 tax return, you will need two PAYG summaries from your employer, one to show 2016 earnings and a separate one to show 2017 earnings.
- Consider any changes to tax rules e.g. The change to how backpackers on 417 or 462 visas are taxed. From the 1st January 2017 backpackers no longer receive a tax-free threshold and are instead taxed at 15% on their first $37,000 of income. The ATO advises to mark which income should be taxed at the new rate on your tax return i.e. any income from 1st January 2017.
- Complete the tax return. The form can be found on the ATO website under ‘Tax Returns for Individuals [Year]’. As you will be completing an early tax return, the form will be from the previous year. Then, for example, If you are completing a tax return for the financial year 16-17, you will be using a 15-16 tax year form, so cross out 2016 on the form and add 2017.
- Once you have completed the form and you are ready to leave the country, you can post it to the ATO. Post the form to – ‘Australian Taxation Office, GPO Box 9845, IN YOUR CAPITAL CITY’ (I know this last bit seems strange, but you do actually put the address like that, word for word. The ATO have an arrangement with Aus Post). Make sure you post the form via registered post, so you know when it’s arrived with the ATO.
- That’s it, all done. You should have your money in your nominated account within 50 business days.
How to Claim Back Your Superannuation When Leaving Australia
I touched upon superannuation earlier in the article. Superannuation is basically extra money paid into a fund by your employer. This amount will usually equate to 9.5% of your wage, this percentage can vary from employer to employer though. Chances are, you will have a healthy sum of money to claim back when you leave Australia.
If you’re anything like me, you won’t have opened your own super fund and you will have just let the employer use their default fund each time. This isn’t the cleverest of ideas, as you will end up with multiple super funds, with multiple companies. Having multiple super funds when it comes to claiming, can make it seem like an absolute nightmare, but luckily it can be a fairly simple problem to resolve. That being said I would definitely advise to open a super fund when arriving in Australia.
The way to resolve the issue of multiple super funds is by basically, getting one of your funds to consolidate them all for you. If you register online for one of your super funds, they will usually have an option to consolidate all funds under your Tax File Number. It’s literally as simple as clicking a button. If some funds in your name don’t include your TFN, obtain your account number from your previous employer and give these details to the super fund you want to consolidate into.
Once all your super funds are consolidated, you’re good to go and you only have to complete the claim back application once.
How to Claim Your Superannuation Back – Step-By-Step Guide
- Head to the DASP online application system on the ATO website.
- Complete personal details (name, DOB, email, passport info & Australian Tax File Number)
- Add superannuation details (fund number, client ID number & date joined fund – can all be found super statements or by calling super provider) for the super fund you wish to claim back (only one fund per application), including superannuation providers Australian Business Number (this can be found on ATO system) and your employers details. The more info in this section – the better.
- If your visa has expired – you’re all done. Submit and you will be sent the payment into your Australian or international account within 28 days.
- If your visa hasn’t expired, you will be prompted. You will need to cancel your visa or wait until it does expire in order to submit your claim.
It’s Really Not All That Hard is it?
For minimal work, you will avoid paying unnecessary fees for someone to do the minute amount of work for you. Why pay someone to do something you can easily do? This way, all the money which is rightfully yours, will end up in the right place, your bank account. Once it’s in your bank account, you have more money to spend on whatever you like. For me, that will be more travelling, including plenty of Mexican food and lots of tequila.
For more information and destinations in Australia Click Here.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
Have you found this ‘claiming back your tax and superannuation when leaving Australia’ guide helpful? Would you claim it all back by yourself now? Or would you still use a company to do it for you?