How to apply for your Australian tax back


Getting back on your feet again once you come back from a long trip can sometimes be a little bit difficult. Usually the reason you’ve come back is because you’ve spent every penny you had on your travels. The good news is if you worked abroad during your travels, particularly if you were on working holiday visa, you may be due a tax refund from the country you were working in. These extra pennies can be enough to get you on your feet again once you get home until you get a job.

Usually what happens is that in the countries which don’t operate a typical PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax system, you’ll usually be due some or all of your tax back that you paid whilst employed in that country upon your return. To give you an example, the average Australian tax refund for working holiday makers in the country is AU$2,500. Although there is no guarantee that you’d get that amount back (it depends entirely on your personal circumstances and how much you worked etc) I’m sure any tax money you got back would go a long way upon your return. You could even put it towards further travels!

So what is the best way to apply for your tax back?

Back in 2007 I tried to do my tax return independently and ended up messing it up. The process when you do it yourself is quite confusing and time consuming – particularly when it comes to oz. It’s for that reason I usually recommend going through a tax back company to do your return. Whether or not you are applying for your tax back in Australia, the US, Ireland, or UK, using a company like is usually a lot easier.

What information will you need before applying?

You’ll need the following things handy before you apply for your tax refund:

  • Your Tax File Number (TFN)
  • All of the financial documents or records you have got during the year.

When are you likely to receive the money?

This can vary person to person but usually you will have at least had your claim processed and an issue of your notice of assessment & refund within 12 working days (if you lodged your return electronically.) It’s usually 40 working days if you did so by mail.

One Response to “How to apply for your Australian tax back”

  1. Chloe McCann says:

    Thank you for this post Jane! I was thinking about doing the tax return myself but it is getting a bit confusing. I think I may go through a tax back agency like you recommended.


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