All you need to know TFN as an International Student

While studying in Australia international students do also avail the provision of 40 hours of part-time work per two weeks. Like other developed nations, Australia too has a very transparent yet comprehensive tax collection system as Australian Taxation Office (ATO). So, as per Australian tax regulation, as an individual or a business entity an earning person or business is required to have tax file number or TFN .

It is consist of nine digit number and has record in nnn nnn nnn format. Thus, you should use it wherever there is requirement.

Rules regarding Part-time work in Australia:

There are some rules regarding part-time work for international students. As you know that in Australia, an international student can take a part time job up to 40 hours per two weeks. It means if you have worked 30 hours in first week, then you can work only ten hours in the next week.

An international student can start part time work only after the study has started. And, the fortnight starts on Monday and ends on the Sunday following week.

What is TFN- Tax Filing Number?

So, TFN is your personal reference number that is compulsory in Australia for working and for superannuation fund. Thus, everyone who is working in Australia needs TFN.

As an international student you must apply for your TFN as soon as possible. Though it is not compulsory to have TFN, yet it is necessary because you may not be able to do number of important work with TFN.

Is TFN is mandatory?

Without TFN you can definitely live and work in Australia, yet you would not be able to do number of things that you can do with your TFN. Some of them are:

Without TFN, there would be a compulsory tax deduction at a rate of 45% which could have otherwise quite low in case you had TFN.

Filing return without TFN is next to impossible in Australia. If your tax deduction is over the prescribed rate, you would not be able claim your higher deduction from Australian Taxation Office (ATO). In this case you would lose nearly half of your wages to the Government of Australia every time you receive your wages

Without TFN you can not apply for the government welfare scheme.

Next, if you want to start your business in Australia, you again wouldn’t be able to apply for Australia Business Number (ABN)

How to Apply TFN- Tax Filing Number?

The process to apply for the TFN is quite easy. You can apply it online or there is an alternate process of paper filing.

  • You can apply for your TFN
  • At a participating Australian Post office
  • At an ATO (Australian Taxation Office)
  • Online, or through
  • Post

While you apply on line you must be ready with primary and secondary documents. For primary documents you would need passport copy. And, for secondary you may submit the copy of your transcript or any other document asked by the issuing authority.

How to Keep your TFN Safe?

Once you get your TFN, make sure to keep it safe. And, use it only if it is mandatory to mention it. If you lose it: inform the issuing authority immediately.

As far as the fee for applying TFN is concerned, there is no fee to apply it. All people, who are eligible to apply, may avail this service free of cost.

How much time does it take to get TFN?

Once, you have applied to ATO, the Australian Taxation Authority would issue and would mail your TFN to your mentioned address within 28 days. The ATO Authority requests you to wait patiently, and do not apply again during this waiting period.

What if TFN is not provided?

In case the person fails to provide the TFN to his or her employer, the employer is legally bound to withhold the tax at the maximum rate which at present is 47% for the Australian citizens and 45% for the temporary Australian such as International Students.

The withheld amount is first reported by the employer to the ATO and then, adds this withheld amount in his monthly taxation report. This amount would be treated as the advanced deposit. In order to claim this amount, the person is required to apply for his TFN and submit his annual tax report.

Exemption from TFN:

There are some organization and agencies that are exempted from withholding. For that they need to submit their category rather than their TFN. These are:

  • Schools or Education Institute
  • Non Government Organization
  • Recipients of government pensions who are 80 years old or are older

To sum up, it is always advisable to apply for your Tax File Number (TFN) in order to get part time work as an international student. Applying TFN is easy as well as no fee is charged for this service. As a result, it will save you from withholding the maximum amount of tax. Additionally, with TFN, you would be filing your annual return easily.

Cosmo Consultants is the leading study abroad and study visa consultants for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and UK. If you are planning to study in Australia, you can visit us at or may contact us on +91-9876291190.

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