Tax Returns for Under 21s & Students

6 min read

If you’re under 21 or studying, we can help you get your finances in order and make lodging your tax return as smooth as possible. If you’re a student, it pays to be mindful that your HECS balance can have an impact on your tax return and how much you can claim. Where your income exceeds the minimum repayment threshold, a compulsory repayment of at least 4% of your HECS-HELP repayment income is raised in your income tax assessment. We’ll help you understand how to work out if you’re liable for repayments and the amount you need to repay.

Lodging tax with multiple jobs

If you’ve got a few part-time jobs, your tax can get a little confusing. Problems can occur for two-income earners, even if the taxpayer and employers do the right thing as determined by the ATO’s PAYG tax rates. The problem arises because your first job will attract the tax-free threshold while your second job (and subsequent incomes) is taxed in line with the progressive tax rates outlined by the ATO. Things can get messy if you don’t know how to report all your income, so it’s always best to let a registered tax-agent take care of it.

What is the tax-free threshold?

As an Australian resident taxpayer, the first $18,200 of your income is tax-free. This is called the tax free threshold. If you earn less than $18,200 from all sources, you won’t pay tax but you will pay on the excess over $18,200.

In dollars and cents, the $18,200 tax-free threshold equates to:

  • $350 a week
  • $700 a fortnight
  • $1,517 a month

When you start a new job, you’ll need to fill out a Tax File Number Declaration form. Make sure you tell your new employer you want to claim the tax-free threshold by answering ‘Yes’ on question 8 – 'Do you want to claim the tax-free threshold from this payer?’ If you have more than one job and your combined income exceeds $18,200, you can only claim the tax-free threshold for one of those jobs (normally the higher paying one). If you claim for both jobs, not enough tax will be deducted and you’ll have a tax debt when you lodge your tax return. As an H&R Block customer, our tax consultants are on-hand to give you advice all year round. If you’ve got a few gigs on the go, it always pays to check before you lodge.

Lodging your first tax return

Completing a tax return can be stressful and confusing, particularly if it's the first time you've lodged. So, if you're under 21, studying at uni, starting your first job and are earning an income, it’s best you chat with our tax consultants about what you can and can’t claim and when you need to lodge.

How do I repay my HECS-HELP debt?

Your HECS-HELP debt repayments will take effect once your income surpasses the compulsory repayment threshold, even if you’re still studying. The minimum HELP Repayment Income (HRI) thresholds are adjusted each year. To make your loan repayments for 2017-18, you’ll need to be earning over $55,874. If your income exceeds this threshold, a compulsory repayment of at least 4% of your income will be charged as part of your tax assessment. This percentage will increase in tandem with your income. To find out how your HECS-HELP debt affects your income and your tax, chat to one our tax consultants.

What if I can’t pay my tax bill?

If you don’t have the money to pay your tax bill, one of our tax consultants can defer your tax return for lodgement until the due date. Just finalise your tax return and we’ll hold for lodgement to May the following year or on your due lodgement date as set by the ATO. Avoiding the ATO is never a good idea and can result in unwanted fines and penalties. One of our tax consultants can talk you through your payment options.

How to lodge a tax return for under 21’s

If you’re under 21, our tax consultants will work with you to tailor a tax return for just $70. Once you’ve made an appointment, use our tax checklist to get prepared for your appointment. The sooner you can get organised, the sooner you can receive your refund.

While tax time is our time to shine, we’re also here for the rest of the year to help with student-specific situations such as understanding the tax implications of part-time work, HEC/HELP debt, working holidays and residency issues for example.

Check out the following tax tips to help make your tax less taxing:

Lodging a tax return

Find your nearest office and book a tax return appointment online today. Use our checklist to ensure you come prepared to your appointment. The sooner you can get ready, the sooner you can receive your refund.

How to calculate your tax refund

Calculate the tax refund you could receive after your deductions with our easy-to-use, accurate income Tax Refund Calculator.


August 2017

Tax Return
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