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Living Overseas? Don’t Forget to Pay Your HELP Debt!

Article By Adam Hurwood | | Accounting & Tax
Australians living and working overseas have not had to worry about repaying their HELP debt… until now. With HELP debt repayments calculated between 4%-8% of gross income, ignoring the changes could lead to a nasty surprise!

An Australian currently living overseas and considered a non-resident for tax purposes, does not report foreign earnings to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and is not assessed a compulsory HELP debt repayment in relation to this income.

Following the 2015 Federal Budget announcement, legislation is expected to pass which will see Australians living overseas be required to repay their Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) and Trade Supports Loan (TSL) debt under the same income tests (2015/16 repayments start once income reaches $54,426) as other Australian residents.

From 1 January 2016, all Australians leaving Australia with a HELP or TSL liability and intending on working overseas for more than 6 months in a 12 month period, will need to register with the ATO before leaving. Australians already overseas will have until 1 July 2017 to register. The 2016/17 financial year will be the first year of assessment with lodgement and payment due in October 2017.

Registrations, annual lodgements and payments will be completed through a myGov account (create an account at

If you or someone you know is living or moving overseas and you wish to know more, please contact your Altitude Accountant.