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Australian Bank account/Tax number ...Help please?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Australian Bank account/Tax number ...Help please?

1. Posted by danielle21 (Budding Member 64 posts) 9y

Hi All,

Going travelling in Jan 08 starting in SOuth America-New Zealand-Fiji-Australia. I have organised a WHV for australia arrive in Sydney around May.
After some advice!
How easy is it to set up a bank account and tax number out there?
Do hostels help arrange this?
I was in Australia for month Last year and loved so i can't wait to get back out there and spend a lot longer there but i will need to find work ASAP. Just a little concerned on how to set up the necessary accounts!

All advice grateful.

P.S advice on jobs for backpackers would be great also.

Many Thanks

Danielle

2. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 9y

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique number issued by the Australian Taxation Office. Only one TFN is issued to you for your lifetime. While it is not compulsory to have a TFN, if you do not have one a higher amount of tax will be withheld than is necessary. All Working Holiday Visa applicants need to apply for a TFN before they can start work in Australia. Getting a tax File Number is relatively easy - you can apply online and I'd suggest you do so before you arrive in oz as it can take 6-8 weeks for the number to come through. Visit the Australian Tax Office Website to apply.

As a worker on a one-year working holiday visa, your tax rate is initially 29%. For every job that you do, you must fill in a tax declaration form. You will need to collect a Group Certificate (statement of earnings) from you employer when you finish working. Everyone working in Australia MUST file a tax return at the end of the financial year (or before you leave the country) - there are fines in place if this is not done. To get some of your tax back you will have to fill in an Income Tax Return. This should be done at the end of the financial year, 30 June (submission deadline is 31 October) or when you leave the country. You can submit this yourself or use a tax agent. To do this yourself you need a Tax Pack, which is obtainable from the Tax Office or at newsagencies at tax time. For a small fee you can get an express Tax Return Kit from the Post Office. Otherwise see a tax agent who will arrange your Tax Return for a fee. If you leave the country before your refund is processed they can send the cheque to any address in Australia or overseas.
To complete your Tax Return you must attach your group certificate, that is the statement of earnings that your employer will give you when you finish working for them.

Setting up a bank account is not that difficult, although you do need appropriate identification and some banks ask for proof of address (which can be hard to provide if you've only just arrived!) Advise your bank of your tax file number to avoid higher rates of taxation on interest earned. If possible, it's a good idea to open a bank account before you arrive - try talking to your current bank to see who they have reciprocal agreements in place with in Australia. Alternatively, check out (and maybe apply) the Australian banks online (major banks include ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Citibank, HSBC, NAB). If you can't open an account before you arrive, I suggest bringing several recent statements (and perhaps a letter of introduction) from your bank at home. Hostels usally aren't much help in opening bank accounts, but if you sign up with temp agencies when you arrive, most of them will help you open an account. Which ever way you approach it, you should not be charged a fee for opening an account.

Good luck with the travels in oz!

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 9y

Quoting KoalaGirl

Getting a tax File Number is relatively easy - you can apply online and I'd suggest you do so before you arrive in oz as it can take 6-8 weeks for the number to come through.

As I remember it, on a WHV you actually have to be in the country before you can apply for a Tax File Number. Also, in my experience getting it was a swifter affair - something like four weeks (so even if you start working right away, that should come in before you get your first pay).

If you can't open an account before you arrive, I suggest bringing several recent statements (and perhaps a letter of introduction) from your bank at home.

This isn't necessary. Just show up with your passport (which includes your WHV sticker) within the first four weeks of entering the country, and that's all the identification or introduction you need. Banks (at least in the big cities) are very used to opening accounts for backpackers. (Just be certain to really do this within those four weeks, because after that you need several additional forms of identification, and things like overseas drivers licenses don't cut it.)
Give them the address of your hostel to have the debit card sent to, and tell them to change the frequency of your bank statements to once a year. They can't cancel bank statements completely, but with the "one a year" trick, you effectively won't get any (just make certain to close the account again before the year is over). :) If you ever find yourself in need of a bank statement, you can walk into any bank branch and ask for an "interim statement". These are completely free.
Be aware that banks in Australia charge even more for stupid little things than those in Europe. If you're really good at managing your money, the best you can do is getting an ANZ Access Select account, which allows a whopping six free transactions per months for a monthly fee of $2 (this used to be free; stupid bank!), otherwise $3 per month for a Westpac eAccount seems like the best bet. (Assuming that withdrawing money from ATMs and using EFTPOS (electronic payment in shops e.a.) is all you need, which it should be.)

4. Posted by sneddon (Budding Member 19 posts) 8y

Visa First who yuou got you visa through will be able to set up a bank account for you before you even leave the UK as well as a SIM card.

5. Posted by happychef (Budding Member 10 posts) 8y

I really found it silly paying a company to set up a bank account when it was really simple to do myself (plus save money) same applys for TFN cos you CANT apply until your in the country I got mines in 6 days by applying on line in 10 mins in Sydney plus it didnt cost a thing to do !! :):)