Taxation and your Tax File Number

Australia has a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) system of taxation. As you earn money, your employer deducts tax from your earnings. This amount is an estimation so at the end of each financial year, you need to fill out a tax-return form. The financial year is from July 1 – June 30. If you leave Australia before the end of the financial year you may be able to claim your tax back earlier than usual. Visit Leaving Australia – Lodging your tax return for more information.

Tax File Number

If you wish to work while you are studying in Australia, you need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). A TFN is a unique number issued to individuals and organisations to help the Tax Office administer tax and other Australian government systems. It is one of your most important forms of identification in Australia. It is yours for life and keeping it secure is a good defence against identity theft. Your TFN is valuable, don’t share it with friends or provide to anyone over the internet when applying for work.

While it is not compulsory to quote a Tax File Number, without one you may:

  • Pay more tax than necessary, or
  • Not be able to get government benefits you are entitled to receive.

A Tax File Number will also help you:

  • Lodge a tax return
  • Ask the Tax Office about your tax affairs
  • Start or change jobs
  • Limit the amount of tax you pay on interest or dividends earned if you have savings accounts or investments that earn income.

Applying for a Tax File Number

If you are a permanent migrant or temporary visitor to Australia you can apply for a TFN online after you arrive in Australia if you have a:

  • Visa that allows work rights
  • Visa that allows permanent migration
  • Valid overseas student visa, or
  • Valid visa to stay in Australia indefinitely.

TFN applications are free of charge. To apply complete the online individual tax file number registration. When applying online, you do not have to physically provide proof of your identity. Your TFN will take about 28 days to be processed after you submit the application form.

If you need more information about the Tax File Number you can visit the Australian Taxation Office or phone 13 28 61.