Australians with a Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debt and/or a Trade Support Loans (TSL) debt who are moving overseas for longer than six months will need to provide the ATO with their overseas contact details within seven days of leaving the country.
The requirement follows recent legislative changes.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte has said that affected people can provide their international contact details using the ATO’s online services (for example, through their ATO account linked to myGov).
“Don’t worry if you don’t know your new international residential address yet. Just provide us with your best contact address while you’re away, like your parents’, and update your contact details when you’re settled. The most important thing is that you’re still able to receive correspondence from us while you’re overseas”, said Mr Whyte.
Australians who are already overseas need to update their details no later than 1 July 2017. From 1 July 2017, anyone living overseas and earning above the minimum repayment threshold will be required to make loan repayments, just as they would if they were living in Australia.
“We will be in touch closer to the time with more information about how to report income and make loan repayments”, Mr Whyte said. “For now, all travellers with a HELP and/or TSL debt need to do is update their details and factor in potentially making repayments from 1 July 2017”, he added.
Repayment income and rates
A notice has been gazetted specifying the 2016–2017 financial year HELP repayment income thresholds and rates. They are shown in the attached table below.
From 1 July 2017, student debt holders will need to work out their worldwide income for the 2016–2017 financial year and report details to the ATO.
The arrangements will apply to both new and existing debts. Debts will continue to be indexed each year until paid off. Students can make additional voluntary repayments at any time to reduce their debt, and the debts can be repaid from overseas.