This article covers the requirements for providing your tax file number (TFN) to your employer, and information on how to complete a tax file number declaration (TFND) in your Astute portal.
This article is intended to provide an overview of general information relating to TFNDs based on the ATO's requirements. It should not be relied upon as tax or legal advice. If you have any further questions regarding your tax requirements or status, you will need to contact the ATO or a qualified advisor.
When to provide your tax file number
You should provide your TFN to your employer only after you start working for them. Never give your TFN in a job application or over the internet.
Your employer is authorised by the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to request your TFN. It's not an offence not to quote your TFN, however, providing your TFN reduces the risk of administrative errors and having extra tax withheld.
Your employer is required to withhold the top rate of tax from all payments made to you if you do not provide your TFN or claim an exemption from quoting your TFN.
How to find your TFN
Your TFN can be found on any of the following documents:
- an income tax notice of assessment
- correspondence relating to tax from the ATO
- a payment summary issued to you by your current employer or a previous employer.
If you have a tax agent, they may also be able to provide your TFN for you.
Please note that Astute Payroll are unable to provide you information on your TFN. If you are unable to find your TFN using one of the above documents, you can phone the ATO. They'll need to verify your identity before disclosing tax information. The ATO will ask you for details that only you, or your authorised representative, would know.
Apply for a tax file number and Exemptions
If you don't currently have a TFN and want to provide one to your employer, you will need to apply. For more information about applying for a TFN, visit the ATO website.
When you complete your TFND in Astute:
- Selecting the 'I don't have a TFN, I'll skip and provide this later' allows you to skip this page and submit your TFND on your next login.
- Selecting 'I do not have a TFN' allows to you select an exemption reason for not quoting your TFN. This option will still allow you to submit your TFND.
If you're providing an exemption reason, you'll need to ensure that you select the correct one:
- You are an application or recipient of certain pensions, benefits or allowances from the:
- Department of Human Services. However, you will need to quote your TFN if you receive Newstart, youth or sickness allowance, or an Austudy or parenting payment;
- Department of Veterans' Affairs - a service pension under the Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986; or,
- Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.
- You are claiming an exemption from quoting a TFN because you are under 18 years of age and do not earn enough to pay tax
- You have made a separate application to the ATO for a new or existing TFN. This allows you 28 days to provide your TFN. The standard tax rate must be withheld during this time. After 28 days, if your TFN is not provided, Astute will withhold the top rate of tax from future payments.
The TFND will ask 'Are you an Australian resident for tax purposes or a working holiday maker?'. This question requires you to provide your current residency status.
Generally, you are considered an Australian resident for tax purposes if you:
- have always lived in Australia, or you have come to Australia and now live here permanently;
- are an overseas student doing a course that takes more than six months to complete; or,
- migrated to Australia and intend to reside here permanently.
If you relocate temporarily overseas and don't set up a permanent home in the other country, you may continue to be treated as an Australian resident for tax purposes.
Working Holiday Maker
If you are in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417), or a Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462), you must select 'Working Holiday Maker' as your status. Special rates of tax apply for working holiday makers.
If you're not an Australian resident or a Working Holiday Maker for tax purposes, select Foreign Resident, unless you receive an Australian Government pension or allowance. Temporary residents can claim super when leaving Australia, if all requirements are met.
A higher rate of tax applies to Foreign Residents' taxable income. Foreign Residents are not entitled to a tax-free threshold, nor can they claim tax offsets to reduce withhold, unless they receive an Australian Government pension or allowance.
To check your Australian residency status for tax purposes or for more information, visit the ATO website.
You will need to indicate whether you want to claim the tax-free threshold for your employer.
The tax-free threshold is the amount of income you can earn each financial year that is not subject to tax. By claiming the threshold, you reduce the amount of tax that is withheld from your pay during the year.
Tick the checkbox if you want to claim the tax-free threshold, you are an Australian resident for tax purposes, and one of the following applies:
- you are not currently claiming the tax-free threshold from another payer
- you are currently claiming the tax-free threshold from another payer and your total income from all sources will be less than the tax-free threshold.
You can also tick the checkbox if you are a Foreign Resident in receipt of an Australian Government pension or allowances.
If none of the above criteria applies, or you are a Working Holiday Maker, leave the checkbox unticked.
If you are receiving any taxable government payments or allowances (eg Newstart, Youth Allowance, Austudy), you are likely already claiming the tax-free threshold from that payment.
For more information about the current tax-free threshold, who to claim it from, or how to vary your withhold rate, please contact the ATO.
Loans and Debts
There are several reportable loans or debts that you will need to report on your TFND if they apply.
If you have a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), VET Student Loan (VSL), Financial Supplement (FS), Student Start-up-Loan (SSL), or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt, you will need to answer 'Yes' to this question.
Leave the checkbox unticked if you do not have any of these debts, or you have repaid any previous debt in full.
You will have a HELP debt if:
- the Australian Government loaned you money under HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, VET Student loans prior to 1 July 2019, or SA-HELP; or
- you have a debt from the previous Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS).
You have a SSL debt if you have an ABSTUDY SSL debt.
You have a separate VSL debt that is not part of your HELP debt if you incurred it from 1 July 2019.
For information about any debts you have incurred, or more details about how to repay a debt, visit the ATO website.
The TFND will ask you to indicate the basis of your employment. If you're unsure of this information, please ask your employer.