Tax Return - FAQ

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Tax return - General Questions

For Working Holiday Visa Holders

How much tax will I get back?

This is different for every person because it depends on how much money you have earned and how much tax you’ve paid already. But we can give you an estimate of your tax refund before you apply. Just click below.

Apply for estimate for $25!

How long will it take to get my tax back?

The ATO releases standard processing time for tax returns is:

– 2 weeks for end of year assessments (after 30 June)

– 4 weeks for early end of year assessments (before 30 June)

This can change at anytime if ATO asks additional questions or does an audit. We are unable to control this.

What happens if I don't do an accurate tax return?

The ATO can get information from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which will “help identify people who are on a 417/462 visa and ensure that their tax is assessed correctly”. So there’s a greater chance they’ll find out if you provide inaccurate information about your residency status.

The ATO also states that if you don’t pay the right amount of tax, you’ll owe them even more money.

It is up to the ATO to decide how to penalise people who lie on their tax returns.


Also note, if you’re suspected of engaging in fraud or other criminal activity, then the department can consider whether there are grounds to refuse a future visa application. So, it’s always advisable to be upfront when lodging your tax return.

When can I claim my Australian tax return?

At the end of the financial year which is after 30 June or when you finish working in Australia.

Can I get my tax return if I've left Australia?


Just fill out the Tax Return Application form OR the Superannuation Refund Application and send it to us with copies of your final payslips/PAYG Summary if you have them.

Is your employer backpacker friendly?

Employers of working holiday makers will be required to undertake a simple, once-off registration with the ATO to be able to withhold tax at this new rate (i.e. 15%).

If your employer isn’t registered with the (ATO) as an “employer of working holidaymakers”, then 32.5% tax will be withheld from your pay instead of 15%.

Employers with offices in different regions may now retain a backpacker for a year, so long as the second six months is worked in a different place (previously, a backpacker can only stay six months with the same employer).

What are the tax changes for backpackers since 1st Jan 2017?

If you’re on either a 417 working holiday visa or a 462 work and holiday visa the changes affecting you are as follows:

  • – Income will be taxed at 15%, down from 32.5%
  • – Superannuation refunds taxed at 65%, up from 38%
  • – No changes to all other visa holders.

What do the new changes mean?

So how are these changes affecting you….


  • – The good news is that the non-resident tax rate is now reduced to 15% and applies to visa subclass holders 417 and 462.
  • – The changes to income tax rates will not be backdated and only impact tax returns for the tax year 1st July 2016 – 30th June 2017.
  • – All tax year returns prior to 1st July 2016 – 30th June 2017 will be processed under the old assessment rules.
  • – When you go to Australia on a working holiday visa, you’ll be taxed as a non-resident from the day you arrive and this is now unlikely to change while you are on a working holiday visa.

This means that as a working holidaymaker, you’ll pay the non-resident rate of income tax and stay on this rate while you remain in Australia on this visa.

Backpackers will no longer be eligible to be classed as “residents” for tax purposes, no matter how long you stay in any one location.

How much does it cost to do an Australian tax return with BuddyHQ?

Tax Return fee

$99 fee for tax refunds paid in advance.
$250 fee for ABN paid in advance.
$250 for super refunds paid in advance.
$25 for estimates paid in advance.

Amended Tax Returns

Amendment tax return info and fees:

If you lodge your tax return (by yourself or with an accountant) and feel the outcome is not correct and you end up with a tax debt to the ATO, it is possible to amend your tax return.

Many people apply for their tax return and do not include all necessary information and work related deductions, this situation may lead to a tax payable with the Australian Taxation Office or a lower refund.

The good news is that we can amend your tax return and our Chartered Tx Adviser can help you to amend your tax return and possibly get a better result.

Possible tax payer scenario:

I worked the same hours and same job as my friend but I got a tax payable and my friend got a tax refund of X amount.

Solution: Contact us and we will review your tax return, it is possible that you may not have ticked the correct boxes in your tax return application and/or you may not have included your work related expenses.

BuddyHQ  service for amendment of tax return is a flat fee of $250.

Contact us today and get your amended tax return sorted.

02 809 108 71

Other costs

$30 to get each PAYG summary/final payslips for you.

$55 for international bank transfers.

FREE transfers to Australian bank account!

BuddyHQ Management of trust account fees:


BuddyHQ manages the Commonwealth Bank trust account in accordance with Accountants Professional Ethical Standard and Chartered Accountants ANZ (APES 310)

BuddyHQ pays the tax refund monies to all clients within 5 working days from receiving the funds from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

In cases where the tax refund cannot be paid to our client we charge and administration fee of $30 plus GST. For example, if the bank details provided are not correct and our client does not provide new correct bank details for payment, we are required to administer the account in accordance with APES 310. This fee BuddyHQ will cover our costs of administration of the trust account. Where applicable the $30 fee plus GST will be charged per month and we will deduct this monthly from the balance held in trust.

If you believe you have an unpaid tax refund please contact us at

What if I do not lodge my tax return.

You must lodge a tax return if you have earned income in Australia.

What happens if you do not lodge your tax return?

The ATO will warn you by phone or in writing if you’ve failed to lodge a tax return.

The ATO will impose a Failure to Lodge penalty on you where your tax return is not lodged by the due date.

If the ATO chooses to apply a penalty they will also send a penalty notice stating the amount and due date of the penalty.

What is the cost of the penalty for failing to lodge a tax return?

The penalty is calculated at the rate of one penalty unit for each period of 28 days or part thereof that the document is overdue, up to a maximum of five penalty units. The value of a penalty unit is $210, and so the maximum penalty will is $1050.

Top tips:

  • – If you have a late tax return, lodge it as soon as possible to avoid interest and penalties accumulating;
  • – If your tax return is late, email us to see if you are eligible to get a remission of the interest and penalties that the ATO charge you with;
  • – Keep on top of any correspondence from the ATO. Warning letters, such as default assessment warning letters, are sent to prevent serious action being taken against you; and
  • – If you’re unsure on whether you have any unlodged tax returns, contact us at

Tax (GST) Back for Travellers – Tourist Refund Scheme


The Tourist Refund Scheme allows Australia and overseas passengers to claim back the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) on goods purchased in Australia and taken with them as accompanied baggage overseas (on the same plane as you aret ravelling on).


BuddyHQ is not involved in this scheme, and it is not related to tax return services (income tax). This link is provided  for information only.


Click here for more information

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