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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
Tax and Education
If you make an advance payment of at least $500, or enough to clear the debt entirely, you will receive a 5% discount on that payment. It is a good idea to make the payment before 1 June when the annual indexation is calculated. The indexation rate for 2015 is 2.1%. You should be aware that if you’re HELP repayment income is above $53,345 and you still have an outstanding HELP balance you may also be required to make a compulsory payment when you lodge your 2015 tax return.
Although it is the government’s intention to remove the bonuses, at the time of writing the enabling legislation had not been approved by parliament.
A new benefit was made available from the 2009 income year onwards which reduces the compulsory HELP repayment or accumulated HELP debt for eligible graduates in science, maths, nursing (including midwifery) or early childhood education.
The reduction amounts are indexed annually, and must be applied for after the end of the financial year. There is a fixed claim period of 2 years from the end of the financial year.
The benefit was designed to encourage maths and science graduates to work in specified occupations and early childhood teachers to work in specified locations. The benefit must be applied for each year and forms are available from the tax office or can be downloaded from www.ato.gov.au. Details of the qualifying occupations and locations can be found at www.studyassist.gov.au
In the 2014 Budget the Government announced that the HECS-HELP benefit scheme will end on 30 June 2015. Graduates would have until 30 June 2017 to claim HECS-HELP benefit for employment prior to 1 July 2015.
If you have salary sacrificed into super, the amount contributed is included in the reportable employer superannuation contributions amount shown on your PAYG payment summary. Also included are any superannuation contributions for which a tax deduction has been claimed. This means that any entitlement you have to any benefits from Centrelink or the Family Assistance Office that are subject to an income test will take into account those amounts.
It also contributes to the calculation of any Child Support payments and is used to determine your liability to such things as the Medicare levy surcharge or repayments of HECS-HELP debts. They may also impact on any tax offsets that you are entitled to claim on your tax return.