If you're in Australia on a working holiday it's crucial to keep your TFN in a safe place
Who knew one little nine digit number could be so important?!
And yet, without a Tax File Number (TFN), you could be left with a lot less money in your pocket.
If you're in Australia on a working holiday and you don't have a TFN – either because you lost it or you never applied for one in the first place – there's a pretty good chance that you're paying way more tax than you need to.
In this blog we'll take a look at just why TFNs are so important, how you can apply for yours, and what to do if your TFN is missing.
What is a Tax File Number?
Simply put, if you're planning to work while you're in Australia as a Backpacker, you should definitely get your hands on a TFN.
A TFN is your personal reference number and you'll need it for both the tax and Superannuation systems in Australia.
Your TFN is yours for life. In other words, it doesn't matter if your name, address or job changes, your TFN will always stay the same. So it's very important that you keep your TFN secure in a safe place.
With a TFN you can:
- Open a bank account
- Pay the correct rate of tax
- Change jobs easily
- Apply for any government benefits you're entitled to
- Join a superannuation fund
- File a tax return
- Claim your tax refund
What happens if I don't have a TFN?
Technically speaking, you can work in Australia without a TFN.
But it isn't really a good idea.
Especially if you don't like paying tax!
Without a TFN, you'll be liable to pay tax at a higher rate and you also won't be able to file a tax return, claim your tax refund or receive government benefits.
In fact, if you don't supply your Tax File Number (TFN) when you start a new job, your employer must withhold 45% of your wages in tax regardless of your level of income.
This is significantly larger deduction than most workers would expect.
Your employer must withhold 45% of your wages if:
- you do not supply your TFN when you start your employment
- you have not claimed an exemption from quoting your TFN
- you have not advised your employer that you are in the process of applying for a TFN
Note: If you inform your new employer that you're in the process of applying for a TFN, you will have a 28 day period to supply the number before you will have to pay tax at the higher rate.
How can I get a TFN?
Applying for your TFN is actually pretty straightforward and can usually be taken care of online.
To apply for a TFN you will need:
- a valid passport
- an Australian address where your TFN can be sent
Your TFN will normally arrive within 28 days after you complete your application.
If you're planning to start working as soon as you arrive in Australia, you may be wondering if there is any way you can secure your TFN before you travel down under.
The answer to this question is yes!
At Taxback.com, we process thousands of TFN applications for our customers every year. In fact, for as little as $30, you can have your TFN in the bag before you leave your home country
I have lost my TFN. What can I do?
If you've lost or forgotten your TFN, there are two main ways that you can find it.
Try looking for it on any of the following documents
- a payment summary
- an income tax notice of assessment
- any correspondence you have from the ATO (the tax authority in Australia)
- a Superannuation member statement
Our Australian tax team can help you track down your missing Aussie tax info & documents.
So there it is, everything you need to know about your TFN. If you've got any questions about your TFN, or regarding Australian tax in general, let us know in the comments below!