Insurance and tax in Australia

What expats need to do

Insurance is more of a personal choice if moving to Australia and is by no means essential. Australia is a modern, westernized country with a free national health service for residents - though you will have to pay tax if working in the country.

Insurance and tax in Australia

Australia has a national health service called Medicare . It provides free treatment for permanent Australian residents so insurance might not be strictly necessary. For more information, see our Australia health guide. You may want to consider home insurance, especially if you've bought your own property.

Australian taxes

If you’re earning more than AUS$6,000 per year you are obliged by the government to lodge a tax return. The Australian tax year starts on 1st July and goes through to 30th June. In July you will receive a PAYG (Pay As You Go) tax statement which shows how much income you have earned over the financial year and what tax has been remitted to the tax office on your behalf. At the time of writing (2013), the PAYG tax threshold is AUS$18,200.

Considering your specific status as an expat, you may wish to enlist a tax agent who specialises in this area to complete your tax return for you. Unless you are registered with a tax agent you will be expected to have your tax return submitted by 31st October for the previous period. If you are registered with a tax agent, you'll have the bonus of an extension until May the following year to complete your return. Remember, Australia uses a self-assessment system where you are responsible for submitting your tax return.

As an expat, you could also be entitled to a “living away from home allowance” or “LAFHA”. This is designed to compensate people who have moved temporarily from their usual place of residence for work. It assists many expats with their accommodation and food expenses. More information is available on the government’s official website , where you can also get a free assessment. For a more detailed overview on tax, see the Australian Taxation Office’s ‘Understanding Tax’ page. 

Australia has a national health service called Medicare . It provides free treatment for permanent Australian residents so insurance might not be strictly necessary. For more information, see our Australia health guide. You may want to consider home insurance, especially if you've bought your own property.

Australian taxes

If you’re earning more than AUS$6,000 per year you are obliged by the government to lodge a tax return. The Australian tax year starts on 1st July and goes through to 30th June. In July you will receive a PAYG (Pay As You Go) tax statement which shows how much income you have earned over the financial year and what tax has been remitted to the tax office on your behalf. At the time of writing (2013), the PAYG tax threshold is AUS$18,200.

Considering your specific status as an expat, you may wish to enlist a tax agent who specialises in this area to complete your tax return for you. Unless you are registered with a tax agent you will be expected to have your tax return submitted by 31st October for the previous period. If you are registered with a tax agent, you'll have the bonus of an extension until May the following year to complete your return. Remember, Australia uses a self-assessment system where you are responsible for submitting your tax return.

As an expat, you could also be entitled to a “living away from home allowance” or “LAFHA”. This is designed to compensate people who have moved temporarily from their usual place of residence for work. It assists many expats with their accommodation and food expenses. More information is available on the government’s official website , where you can also get a free assessment. For a more detailed overview on tax, see the Australian Taxation Office’s ‘Understanding Tax’ page. 

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