The Australian Government has introduced changes which mean if you have moved overseas and have a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt, you now have the same repayment obligations as those who live in Australia. This applies if you already live or intend to move overseas for a total of more than six months in any 12-month period.
From 1 January 2016, you will need to update your contact details through your Tax Agent or the Australian Tax Office’s online services within seven days of leaving Australia. If you already reside overseas, you will need to update your details no later than 1 July 2017.
From 1 July 2017, if you are living overseas and earning an income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold, you will be required to make compulsory repayments towards your debt.
Updating your details
You will need to notify your Tax Agent or the ATO if you move or intend to move overseas by updating your contact details, including international residential and email addresses. You only need to update your details on ATO online services and not your myGov account.
If you are already overseas
If you already have a myGov account and you do not have access to your Australian mobile number, you will not be able to log in to your myGov account if the security code is turned on.
If you have lost access to your myGov account overseas or do not have a myGov account, you can create a new account and link the ATO. When creating the account, make sure you skip the step to set up the security code feature as myGov does not accept international mobile numbers.
What happens next
From 1 July 2017, you will need to work out your worldwide income for the 2016-17 financial year and submit the details to us using our online services via myGov. Your income details should be submitted to us by 31 October each year.
From 1 July 2017 you will need to:
1. Determine your residency status
2. Assess your worldwide income
3. Submit the details to us using the online services via myGov or call your Tax Agent.
Your HELP debt will continue to be indexed each year until it is paid off. You can make additional voluntary repayments at any time to reduce the balance of your debt and these repayments can also be made from overseas.
If you liked this article you may also be interested in finding out if you can claim your self education expenses.
To update your details or if you have any questions call Taxwise Australia on (08) 9248 8124.