ATO cracks down on foreign residents' HELP debts


From 1 July 2017, the ATO have introduced changes to HELP (formally HECS) and TSL debt obligations for foreign residents.

The changes require all non-residents, who have a HELP debt, to report their worldwide income to the ATO every year. Similar to Australian residents, if their annual income equals to or exceeds the repayment threshold, compulsory repayments will be required to be made to reduce their HELP debt.

Compulsory repayments of 4% will need to be made once the annual taxable income reaches $54,868. As the taxable income increases, so does the rate of the compulsory repayments. Voluntary repayments are also available to candidates and can be made at any time.

All candidates will need to notify the ATO within seven days of leaving Australia, if they plan on moving overseas for more than 183 days in a 12 month period. They will also need to advise the ATO if they are already residing overseas.

For anyone who qualifies under these changes, they will need to lodge either a non-lodgement advice or a 2017 Income Tax Return by the 31 October, 2017. Lodgement through an Australian Tax Agent may delay the lodgement date depending on each personal circumstance.

For further information regarding this matter, please contact us.

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