TFN 101 and FAQs
Do I really need to apply for a TFN?
Anyone working in Australia must have a TFN, the unique identifier issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to each taxpaying entity. Yes, you’re a tax paying entity—read Taxes and superannuation 101 for working holiday makers in Australia for more info.
There are two incentives for you to apply for your TFN as soon as possible. First, getting a TFN is free and easy—the process is detailed below. But most importantly, you pay more tax if you don’t have a TFN. In Australia, income tax is withheld from your salary or wages and the tax rate depends on your status. If you don’t provide your employer with your TFN, they must withhold 45% of any payment made to you. Ouch.
Besides, most employers are reluctant to hire a worker who doesn’t have a TFN or doesn’t want to apply for one. It could mean that you want to be paid under the table because you’re not legally allowed to work in Australia. In turn, it can be a red flag if your employer doesn’t ask for your TFN… do they expect you to work off the books? Just a quick reminder that doing so is probably a terrible idea—not only will it be challenging to enforce your rights as a worker but you won’t be able to count this job towards your 88 days of “specified work” for a second WHV application.
So yeah, get a TFN and find a legit employer.
When should I apply for my TFN?
It’s best to apply for your TFN as soon as you arrive in Australia even if you’re not planning to work right away. Legally, you have 28 days to provide a completed Tax file number declaration to your employer.
Note that you have to be in Australia to apply for your TFN. Your visa must have been activated first.
Found a job faster than you planned and don’t have a TFN yet? It’s okay, again, you have 28 days to give it to your employer and avoid the 45% tax rate. If you delay the application and do get taxed at 45%, you may be able to get some of your money back at the end of the fiscal year when you lodge your tax return.
Main articles about the WHV to Australia
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller
Applying for a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) To Australia: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide with Screenshots
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
Your first steps in Australia with a Working Holiday Visa
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
Working in Australia: Opportunities, tips for backpackers and job search advice
Fruit Picking Jobs in Australia: What, Where, How (and Why!)