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  • Starting your first job

    Before you start working

    Get a tax file number

    Your tax file number (TFN) is your personal reference number for our tax system. You should apply for your TFN before you start work or soon after. If you do not have a TFN to give to your employer, you will pay more tax.

    It is free to get a TFN.

    Next step:

    Keep your TFN safe

    You keep the same TFN for your whole life, even if you change your name, or move interstate or go overseas.

    Don't let anyone else use your TFN – not even friends or relatives.

    Never give your TFN in a job application or over the internet. You should only give your TFN to your employer after you start working for them.

    See also:

    When you start working

    Complete a tax file number declaration

    Your employer will ask you to fill out a Tax file number declaration form to tell them your personal information and your TFN.

    Your employer uses this declaration to work out how much tax you need to pay.

    You have 28 days to provide the declaration to your employer. If you don't, they will have to take out more tax from your pay.

    How much tax you will pay

    Your employer will deduct tax from your pay and send it to us. This is called 'pay as you go withholding'.

    The amount of tax you pay depends on:

    • whether you are an Australian resident for tax purposes
    • how much income you earn
    • whether you have a tax file number (TFN).


    Superannuation, or 'super', is a part of your income that your employer pays into a super fund. Your super builds up over your working life. You use your super money to live on when you retire from work.

    Find out more:

    Getting paid in cash

    Some employers prefer to pay you in cash instead of into your bank account. This is okay if they:

    • take the right amount of tax from your pay and give it to us
    • give you payslips showing how much tax you have paid
    • pay the right amount of super into your super fund.

    If they don't do these things, you could be getting less pay and super than you should.

    Find out more:

    Employee or contractor

    Being an employee is different from being a contractor.

    You are an employee if you are working in another person's business.

    You are a contractor if you are self-employed and running your own business.

    Some employers may incorrectly treat you as a contractor or encourage you to get an Australian business number (ABN) to try and avoid their responsibilities.

    Only people who run a business need an ABN. If your employer is incorrectly paying you as a contractor you could be missing out on things like:

    • sick leave
    • holiday pay
    • super
    • work cover (insurance).

    Find out more:

    Workplace rights and obligations

    All people working in Australia have the same rights and protections at work. Minimum pay rates and workplace conditions are set by Australian law.

    The Fair Work Ombudsman can give you information and advice about your workplace rights and obligations. They have this information in different languages.

    See also:

    Next steps:

    Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra.

      Last modified: 06 Apr 2022QC 61176