Getting a tax file number, migrants and temporary residents

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In your home country, you normally need to have some form of a tax identification number so that you can start to earn your income. In Australia, you need to get a Tax File Number (TFN) before you can start to earn an income in the Land Down Under. This applies to Australian citizens, migrants and temporary residents.

Income here would cover salary from a job, wages, payments received from the government, as well as money that you reap from your investments including interest on your savings account.

Getting a tax file number, migrants and temporary residents

Those who can get a TFN are a secondary student, an Australian citizen (or a resident with no working rights) who is not at school, an overseas visitor or student who has permission to work, or a protected person or applicant who is not able to sign his TFN application.

Since varied people may apply for the Tax File Number (TFN), there are also different ways to apply depending on who is applying. However, the basic premise here is for you to be able to show evidence of your identity. Please make sure that you check the back part of the TFN application form for a complete list of acceptable evidence of identity documents that you can use. Remember to give unaltered original copies.

Secondary students will not find it difficult to apply for the TFN if they do it through the secondary schools TFN program. In this way, it is the school that verifies the identity of the student; eliminating the need for the student to provide evidence of identity documents. However, it is also interesting to remember that the student applicant needs to provide details on the form regarding his or her a) Australian birth certificate, b) Australian citizenship certificate, and c) your overseas passport.

Applicants with no work rights who want to get a Tax File Number (TFN) will need to be extra careful with going about the process as it is more complex that the other categories.

First of all, a TFN may be applied for on the web if the applicant is an Australian aged 16 and older and is able to attend an interview at any of the participating Australia post retail outlets. For those who do not meet this requirement, they will need to fill out a paper Tax File Number – application or enquiry for individuals (NAT 1432) form which they can get in four ways, namely:

  • By ordering online
  • By calling 1300 720 092
  • By ordering from selected newsagents
  • By asking for a copy of the form from Centrelink for those who are applying for government benefits or pension

Once you completely fill out the form, you will need to send it to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) either by posting it to them or taking it to selected shop-fronts. Whichever way you choose, don’t forget to include in the form the unaltered evidence of identity documents that were specified in the form.

The second option is much quicker, especially if you set an appointment (phone 13 28 61), as a tax officer will immediately look into your application and the form and documents will be returned to you right after it is checked.

Take note also that you can also apply for a TFN if you are applying for a benefit at Centrelink. In the same way, your documents and form will be checked by a Centrelink officer and he will return these to you immediately. After which, you may forward your application to the ATO.

For overseas visitor or student visa holders with work rights, you have to make sure first that you are a visa holder with work rights. These may include being a working holiday-maker, a New Zealand citizen, or being an overseas student taking up a course or study that lasts for 6 months or longer. If you qualify, then you can apply for the TFN online.

To do this, you need to have a valid passport and a DIAC-authorized work visa. When you apply online your identity will be verified by the ATO’s electronic systems through the systems of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

As for protected persons, or those who are aged 16 and above and have an appointed person to help them with their financial and legal matters, the appointed persons are advised to call the ATO at 13 28 61 so that discussions may be made regarding the application and identification that are needed. Schedule of calls are from Monday to Friday, between 8 in the morning and 6 in the evening.

There is no age requirement for you to be eligible to apply for a TFN. However, a parent or guardian should sign on behalf of the applicant who is only 12 years old or younger. If the applicant is aged between 13 and 15, there is a choice between the parent and the applicant to sign the form. As for those who are aged 16 and older, they need to sign the form themselves.

It is expected that you will receive a letter with your TFN from ATO within 28 days from receipt of your application.

If the process is confusing for you, National Visas can surely give you the help and advice that you need. Check out its website at www.nationalvisas.com.au.

 

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National Visas offers Personalised Services to help you apply for a visa. National Visas has developed into a world leader in online immigration services. Our Migration Agents are registered to provide Australian immigration advice, as required by Australian law.

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