If you worked in any of these countries, you could be due a Tax Refund

Do you need to file an Australian tax return?


Filling a tax return in Australia can be tricky if you’re not familiar with the local tax system.

However, it’s a good idea to lodge one, so that you can ensure you have a clean tax record, and claim back any tax refund you may be due.

The average Australian tax refund a Taxback.com customer receives is $2,600.

A clean tax record will be important should you ever need to apply for a new visa in order to extend your time down under.

You must file at the end of each financial year, and your annual return is used to determine the amount of money you owe in taxes for a given year.

The Australian Tax Office expects you to submit it before the deadline - 31 October, whether through a registered tax agent or by yourself so that your affairs for the financial year are in order.

If you’re unsure of how to lodge an Australian tax return (or whether you even need to file), Taxback.com can help you.

We’ve put together this guide with questions and answers, as a summary of the Australian tax system, and the information included should help you handle your tax return and refund application.

We will also show you how we can assist you in this process, and make it as easy as possible.

We recommend you speak with the Taxback.com team before acting on any information presented here

So, keep reading.


The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600


Do I need to file a tax return in Australia?

Every year, most people are required to file a tax return in Australia.

In some situations, even if you earn less than that amount, you may need to lodge a return.

If you are unsure, our tax experts can help you to figure out if you need to do so.

If you earned less than the tax-free threshold and taxes were not withheld already, it's crucial to send the ATO (Australian Tax Office) non-lodgement advice, explaining why you don't need to file.

Our tax professionals can prepare it for you.

If you don't do this, the ATO will assume you need to lodge a return and may take compliance action against you.

If you have any questions, we recommend consulting our tax professionals to determine whether you are required to file a tax return.


The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600



Do I have to file an Australian tax return when living overseas? Do I have to file an Australian tax return if I live abroad?

If you have any income derived from Australian sources, even as a foreign resident, you will have to file a tax return.

If you are working an Australian job based overseas, then you will have to file one.

You must first determine if you are considered an Australian resident by the ATO or not.

If one or more of the following statements apply to you, you will be deemed a resident:

  • You live in Australia.
  • Your permanent residence is in Australia.
  • You've spent more than half of the fiscal year in Australia.
  • Your spouse or you are a government employee working at an Australian post overseas.

In short, you will be considered a resident for tax purposes in Australia if you have lived and worked in Australia for 183 days of the year.

If this is the case, you will be required to file a tax return.

Otherwise, you will be deemed a non-resident for tax purposes.

When you file your Australian tax return, you will be required to fill out a questionnaire to determine your residency status.

All working holidaymakers in Australia are considered non-residents for tax purposes.

However, circumstances, such as how long you've been in Australia, and your behavior while there can influence whether you'll be considered a resident in the future.

For example, if you stay down under for more than six months, live in the same place, and develop relationships with the local community, you would most likely be deemed an Australian resident for tax purposes.

You can lodge an Australian tax return early or online (or with the help of a tax agent like Taxback.com) if you worked there and you are returning to your home country.


Okay, but should I file a tax return in Australia if I am a non-resident for tax purposes?

It's easy to believe that you don't have to do anything while living and working as an expat in another country, but this couldn't be further from the truth!

If you have a tax file number, the ATO will expect you to file a tax return by default.

Failure to do so can result in late lodgement fines of up to $900 per return. So, it's important to stay on top of things!

As a non-resident, you must file a tax return if you have income that is from Australian sources, such as salary, wages, business income, or capital gains on Australian buildings and land.

as a non-resident, do I need to lodge a tax return or a ‘return not necessary’ form?

The type of income you earn from Australian sources will determine whether you need to file an Australian tax return or file a 'return not necessary' form.

You will only be taxed on income generated from Australian sources and will only be required to file a tax return if you earn the following forms of income:

  • Rental income from an Australian real estate
  • Earnings from working in Australia (where those activities are carried out in Australia)
  • Earnings from interest (on which your bank hasn't deducted a 10% withholding tax for non-residents)
  • Unfranked dividends (This is a dividend from an Australian business that is not accompanied by a tax credit.)
  • Annuities or pensions from Australia (Unless you are entitled to a tax treaty exemption.)
  • Capital gains on assets

If you have received income from Australian sources and tax has already been withheld on them (for example dividends, royalties, interest), you won’t need to file a tax return.

As a non-resident, if you haven’t generated any income from Australian sources, then a 'Return Not Necessary' can be filed on your behalf by our tax experts.

This will inform the ATO that you have not earned any income subject to Australian income tax, and you will have fulfilled your filing responsibilities for that financial year.

The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600



What if I am an Australian citizen but at the same time, I am a non-resident for Australian tax purposes?

You only need to notify your financial institution and fund managers that you are no longer a resident of Australia for tax purposes.

They will make sure that the correct amount of tax is withheld.

You can also ask our tax experts to file a 'Return Not Necessary' form on your behalf with the ATO, confirming that your duties for that fiscal year are complete.


Can I be taxed twice in Australia?

There's a chance you'll be double-taxed if you're an Australian resident who earns income from foreign sources.

If your foreign income was earned in a country with which Australia has a double taxation agreement, you may be eligible to deduct a portion of the tax paid in the foreign country from your Australian tax liability.


How do I lodge an Australian tax return from overseas?

If you live outside of Australia, you can still use myGov and myTax to file an Australian tax return online.

Or if you are looking for the easiest way to do it, you can hire a tax agent like Taxback.com and our tax experts will take care of the whole process on your behalf.

If you are an enthusiast, you can also use the old-school method, and send your tax return by post. However, bear in mind that all mistakes on your return can result in penalties and additional charges by the ATO.

Keep in mind also that if you're living abroad, there may be some changes in the process, as moving your residency can affect your residency status for tax purposes.


Can I lodge my Australian tax return early if I am leaving the country?

Yes, you'll have to do it the old-fashioned style, by filling out a form and mailing it to the ATO. The Tax Return for Individuals is the form you'll need.

And again, you can choose the easiest approach without stress with Taxback.com.


Can I receive my tax refund to an overseas bank account?


If you are filing directly with ATO by yourself, the answer is - no, a foreign bank account is not acceptable.

If you file your tax return online, you must provide the ATO with an Australian bank account.

The good news here is that there is a solution for you. Taxback.com can send your tax refund to any international bank account.


When do I need to lodge my Australian tax return? When is the deadline to file my return in Australia?


You can file your tax return on 1 July, but the ATO will not begin processing returns until 6 July.

You have until 31 October to file your tax return after the financial year ends on 30 June.

Make sure you file your tax return by the deadline. The ATO may impose a fine or interest penalty if you are late with your payments.


The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600



Can I file a tax return in Australia after the deadline?

If all of your past years’ tax returns are up to date, you're certainly covered by the ATO's special arrangements. 

This enables tax professionals to file returns well after the 31 October deadline.

If you hire a tax agent like Taxback, you may be able to file your return until 15 May of the following year (We recommend that you speak with our tax experts to discuss the deadline).

Remember that in order to be eligible for the extended deadline as a tax agent customer, you must have been a client of that agent by 31 October. You won't be able to access the extended deadlines if you haven't registered.

If you were not registered with a tax professional by 31 October, you should have filed your Australian return by this date and you may be liable to a late lodgement charge.

This is $222 for the first 28 days after the due date and then increases by $222 every 28 days after that, up to a maximum of $1,110.

If you have missed the deadline and you do not want to mess your tax affairs with ATO further, you can contact Taxback.com and our tax agents will take the stress off your shoulders.


What happens if I don't do my tax return in Australia?

If you don't file, the ATO can impose a variety of penalties and charges to compel you to do so, including sanctions for late filing.

Simply contact our tax professionals, and they will assist you with all of your unfiled returns.

They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are ready to address your concerns.


How much is the average tax refund in Australia?

The average Australian tax refund with Taxback.com is $2,600. To find out how much you can get back, you can use our FREE Australian online tax calculator.


How can I claim back my Australian tax refund?

The only way to claim your tax back in Australia is to file a tax return.

You can do that at the end up of the financial year (30 June) or as soon as you leave Australia.


Can you claim your Australian tax back at any time?

You can get a refund for any tax you overpaid in the last four years. Tax refund claims have a four-year deadline, so if you have a claim for 2018, you should submit it by December 31, 2022.


How do I lodge my Australian tax return?

You have three options to choose from:

  • You can file your return online by yourself using MyTax. The disadvantage is that you will need to learn how to do it on your own, plus the stress of dealing with tax documentation, and you will be responsible for any mistake you make.
  • Use the old-school method, and file a paper tax return. The downsides here are similar.
  • Lodge your tax return with a trusted agent like Taxback.com. Yes, you will pay a small fee but our tax experts will take the burden of the whole process, and will make sure that you will get your maximum Australian tax refund. (If you are liable for any).

Why choose Taxback.com?

  • We have 20+ years of experience, and last year we submitted more than 1 million tax returns for our customers all over the world
  • Our tax experts will ensure you avail of every expense and relief you're entitled to
  • We'll transfer your maximum legal Australian tax refund straight to your bank account anywhere in the world
  • It's a convenient online service. We do the work. You get the cash!
  • Got tax questions? Our Live Chat team is on hand 24/7 to answer you


The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600



About The Author

Kristina Valcheva - Digital content writer @ Taxback.com

Kristina is a digital content writer at Taxback.com. She has a strong interest in finance and technology, and her background is in media, journalism and sales.

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