How To Adult | Take Your Tax Into Account

by Debby Xu (Legal Intern)

Now that you're a 'real' adult, it's time to not only do your taxes, but also to understand them!

Tax Returns 

Tax returns tell the government how much income you received and tax you paid. You can lodge your tax return online through myTax. If you are lodging your own tax return, you can do so between 1 July to 31 October.   

Income you need to declare / what money is taxable  

You must declare your income on your tax return each year. Income you need to declare include:  

  • Employment income  

  • Super pensions, annuities and government payments  

  • Investment income (including interest, dividends, rent and capital gains tax)  

  • Business, partnership and trust income  

  • Foreign income  

  • Crowdfunding  

  • Others incl. Compensation and insurance payments for lost salary or wages; discounted shares or rights to acquire shares under employee share schemes; prizes and awards; ATO interest – remissions or recoupments  

For further information, head to the ATO website.

Where you can pay your taxes 

If you are an employee, your employer withholds tax for you and sends it to the ATO. Otherwise, you can pay online, or there are alternate options like electronic transfers, paying in person at Australia Post etc. For more information, please check out the ATO's information on How to Pay

Arc Tax Help Program 

If you would like additional help, Arc has a free tax help program which will be available from Sem 2, Week 2 to help with completing tax returns. For more information, you can visit the Arc Tax Help website. 

For International Students  

If you're enrolled to study in Australia in a course that lasts for six months or more, you're generally regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes. This means: 

  • you pay tax on your earnings at the same rate as other residents 

  • you're entitled to the benefits of the Australian tax system, such as 

  • the tax-free threshold (or part of it, if you're here for only part of the financial year) 

  • tax offsets 

  • generally lower tax rates than a foreign resident. 

Generally Australian residents must declare all income they've earned, both in Australia and internationally, on their Australian tax return. However, as an overseas student you probably have a temporary visa, which means that you may be a temporary resident. If you're a temporary resident, most of your foreign income is not taxed in Australia and you don't declare it on your Australian tax return. Further information can be found here and here.