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Australians travelling with HELP or TSL debt now must repay and report while abroad

Seeing the world or working abroad while having a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) is not uncommon among today’s generation. However, following new rules introduced by the Government it’s important travellers with a HELP or TSL debt are aware of their obligations to report to the ATO and to make repayments based on their overseas earnings.

If you are living or travelling overseas and have a new or existing HELP or TSL liability, you will need to submit a one-off notification of your overseas travel and then provide yearly updates of overseas income.

The overseas travel notification form should be completed if you have an intention to, or already reside overseas for more than 183 days in a 12 month period. The form can be lodged through MyGov or through an Australian Registered Tax Agent.

Yearly updates of income, should be in the form of a tax return or a non-lodgement advice and should be completed prior to 31 October for the 1 July to 30 June period.  Repayment levels are the same as those residing and working in Australia, however it is important to note that your overseas employer will not be withholding extra tax to cover your repayment.  Therefore you will need to set aside money throughout the year to cover your repayment due at the end of the year.

While penalties regarding the new requirements are unclear the ATO could apply failure to lodge on time penalties and general interest charges for non-compliance. Don’t make your overseas trip more costly than expected, ensure you comply!

For more information or for assistance on meeting your HELP and TSL debt reporting obligations please speak to your usual Hanrick Curran advisor or alternatively Robert Pitt on 07 3218 3900.


Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

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