If you intend to work in paid employment or to have money in a bank account while you are studying in Australia, it is recommended that you obtain a Tax File Number. This will ensure that you are taxed correctly. This information site provides some answers to questions you may have about Tax File Numbers. It also directs you to other sources of information about related issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Tax File Number?
A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique number issued to you by the Australian Taxation Office to administer tax and other Australian Government systems. It is one of your most important forms of identification in Australia.
Your TFN is valuable. Don't share it with friends and do not provide it on the internet when applying for work. Keep it secure.
Why do I need a Tax File Number?
A TFN is not compulsory. However, if you intend to keep money in a bank account, it would be to your advantage to have a TFN, because you may be required to pay tax on the interest. Similarly, if you intend working in paid employment, you need to have a TFN, because your employer is required to deduct income tax from your wages. If you do not have a TFN, you may:
- pay more tax than necessary, or
- not be able to get government benefits you are entitled to receive.
A TFN will help you:
- lodge a tax return
- ask the Tax Office about your tax affairs
- start or change jobs
- limit the amount of tax you pay on interest of dividends earned if you have savings accounts or investments that earn income.
For further information visit the Australian Taxation Office website or telephone 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Is any of the money I pay in taxes refundable?
In Australia, you are required to lodge an annual taxation return at the end of each financial year. The financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June. Taxation returns must be lodged by 31 October. Your taxation obligation
will be calculated by the Australian Taxation Office. If you have paid less than the appropriate amount, you will receive an invoice for the balance. If you have paid more than the appropriate amount, you will receive a refund.
Who else needs to know my Tax File Number?
Your financial institution (bank, credit union, etc.) needs to know your TFN. You may also inform your employer of your TFN.
Do I need to apply for a Tax File Number each year?
No. The TFN is a unique number. Once it is issued to you, it will remain with you always. As it is yours for life, you must keep it secure to protect against identity theft.
May I work in paid employment without a Tax File Number?
Yes, however, without a TFN, tax will be deducted from your income at the maximum rate. You can claim this back later once you submit a tax return, but it is more convenient to have a TFN and have the correct amount deducted from the start. It is illegal to work in paid employment without paying income tax. Your employer is legally required to deduct the appropriate amount of tax from your salary and to forward this to the Australian Taxation Office.
How do I apply for my Tax File Number?
Complete an application form and take it, with your passport, to the Australian Taxation Office, 26 Franklin Street, Adelaide. Application forms are available from the Learning and Teaching Unit on your campus.
Alternatively, you may apply online for a TFN after you arrive in Australia from the Australian Taxation Office website and completing an Online Tax File number (TFN) application. When applying online, you do not have to provide proof of your identity.
Applying for a TFN using false or other people's identity details, or misusing your TFN, can have legal consequences and may mean heavy fines or jail.
When will I receive my Tax File Number?
You will receive your TFN by mail within 28 days. TFNs are not given out by telephone for reasons of confidentiality.
Do I need to lodge a tax return for each financial year?