If you earn any money in Australia then the ATO (Australian Tax Office) would like to know about it. For this purpose everyone gets a tax file number. It’s sort of like a National Insurance Number – all your income and tax is stored against it.
If you don’t have one, then your employer is obliged to ‘withhold’ your tax at the maximum rate – 46.5% – yikes! Pretty mean eh? They do a thing here like PAYE expcept it’s called ‘PAYG’ – “Pay as you go”. The main difference is that here EVERYONE – yes EVERYONE has to do a tax return. Even if you work for the same employer under PAYG you still have to do a tax return to make sure they get the tax on any bank interest or anything else. The PAYG is designed so that after a tax return most people don’t pay any more or get much of a rebate.
Luckily for newcomers all you have to do to get one is go to the website, fill out a form with your passport details and a few other things on, and then wait for up to 28 days. Job done – tax file number on it’s way.