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What Australian Expats Need to Do If You Have a HELP Debt or TSL Debt

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We recently reported on changes to HELP Debt repayment obligations of Australian Expats passed by the Australian Parliament in early November 2015.

Find below details on what the new obligations for Australian Expats are with respect to informing the tax office of your move overseas and your overseas income, and when you will need to start continuing to make HELP debt repayments.

This information is extracted from the ATO website as at 17 November 2015.  We have subsequently updated our advice on HELP Debt / TSL Debt / HECS Debt Repayment Obligations For Australians Living Overseas.  Check out our latest commentary here.

New HELP Debt Repayment Obligations For Australian Expats

From 1 January 2016, if you have moved overseas and have a Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP debt) or Trade Support Loan (TSL debt), you will have the same HELP debt 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 the ATO’s online services within seven days of leaving Australia.

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 from 1 July 2017.
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Keeping your details up-to-date with the Australian Tax Office

Australian expats will need to notify the ATO if you move or intend to move overseas by updating your contact details, including international residential and email addresses, using their online services via myGov. You must continue to update your contact details while residing overseas. If you already reside overseas, you will need to update your details no later than 1 July 2017.

Australian Expats Must Notify the Australian Tax Office of Global Income

From 1 July 2017 you will need to:

  • Determine your residency status
  • Assess your worldwide income for the 2016-17 financial year (1 July 2016 to 30 june 2017)
  • Submit the details to the ATO via the myGov website by 31 October each year

Your debt will continue to be indexed each year until it is paid off. Australian expats (like anyone else) can make additional voluntary repayments at any time to reduce the outstanding debt balance and these repayments can also be made from overseas.

For the latest information from the ATO or for more information click here.

Disclaimer : This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial or taxation advice. As this information is not advice and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness for your circumstances. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions, and a registered (tax) financial advisor/accountant in relation to taxation decisions. To the extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way.

If you would like to understand more about the tax implications for Australians Working Abroad, you can download my special report below.  As a bonus, you will also receive my free fortnightly newsletter which will keep you informed of further developments in this area, and offers other useful information and tips to help Australian Expats build their wealth while living abroad.


Download Special Report – Tax Implications For Australians Working Abroad

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About the author


Craig is an Australian Expat and the founder of The Australian Expat Investor. Craig is passionate about investing, and while Craig cannot give personal financial or tax advice, Craig enjoys sharing investing, tax, and other tips for Australian expats to help them to build their wealth while living abroad and get the most out of their time living overseas. Get his free ebook on 9 Financial Surprises That Could Cost Australian Expats Thousands of Dollars

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