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  • myTax 2020 Zone or overseas forces

    Complete this section to claim this tax offset if you:

    • lived in a remote or isolated area of Australia (not including an offshore oil or gas rig), or
    • served overseas as a member of the Australian Defence Force or a United Nations armed force.

    On this page:

    Things to know

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    If eligible, the zone or overseas forces tax offset includes:

    • a fixed amount, and
    • a base amount.

    The fixed amount is a prescribed amount available to all people in the zone or overseas area eligible for the tax offset.

    You may be able to include a base amount if you:

    Your circumstances determine your fixed and base amounts.

    Zone tax offset

    To be eligible for the zone tax offset, your usual place of residence must be in a zone. If your usual place of residence was not in a zone, you are not eligible for this offset.

    Remote locations are classed as either zone A or zone B. There are also special areas within these zones. If you do not know which zone your location is in, visit Australian zone list.

    To qualify for the tax offset, your usual place of residence must have been in a remote area (not necessarily continuously) for:

    • 183 days or more during 2019–20, or
    • 183 days or more during the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2020 (including at least one day in 2019–20), and you did not claim a zone tax offset in your 2019 tax return.

    If your usual place of residence was in a zone for less than 183 days in 2019–20, you may still be able to claim a tax offset as long as your usual place of residence was in a zone for a continuous period of less than five years after 1 July 2014 and:

    • you were unable to claim in the first year because you lived there less than 183 days, and
    • the total days you lived there in the first year and in 2019–20 is 183 or more. The period you lived in a zone in 2019–20 must include 1 July 2019 (the first day of the income year).

    See also:

    Overseas forces tax offset

    You may be eligible for an overseas forces tax offset if:

    • you served in a specified overseas locality as a member of the Australian Defence Force or a United Nations armed force in 2019–20, and
    • income relating to that service was not specifically exempt from tax.

    When working out your eligibility for the tax offset, exclude periods of service for which your income was ‘exempt foreign employment income’.

    Your employer will be able to advise you whether you served in a locality that qualifies for the overseas forces tax offset. You can also see which localities qualify for the overseas forces tax offset at Overseas forces tax offset or phone 13 28 61.

    To claim the full overseas forces tax offset:

    • you must have served in the overseas locality for 183 days or more in 2019–20, or
    • the total number of days served in the overseas locality, when added to the number of days served in one or more zones, must be 183 days or more. If you served as a member of the Australian Defence Force, days spent in a zone must be defence force service.

    If your overseas service was less than 183 days, you may be able to claim part of the tax offset. Unlike the zone tax offset, you cannot carry forward any unused days from previous years to make up 183 days.

    See also:

    Completing this section

    If you qualify for both a zone tax offset and an overseas forces tax offset, you can claim only one of them. Claim the higher one.

    To personalise your return to show the zone and overseas forces tax offset, at Personalise return select:

    • You are claiming tax offsets, adjustments or a credit for early payment
    • Zone or overseas forces

    To show your zone or overseas forces tax offset details, at Prepare return select 'Add/Edit' at the Offsets banner.

    Use the following steps to work out your tax offset and show it at the Zone or overseas forces heading:

    1. Do the following circumstances apply to you? 
      • Your usual place of residence was in only one zone or you served in only one specified overseas locality for at least 183 days, and
      • You are not able to include a base amount as:  
        • you were not entitled to claim the Invalid and invalid carer tax offset, and
        • you either did not have a dependent child or student at any time in 2019–20 or if you did have a dependent child or student, their adjusted taxable income (ATI) was equal to or greater than $282 plus $28.92 for each week you maintained them.

    No – Go to step 3.
    Yes – Note the tax offset amount for your circumstance from Table 1. Go to step 2.

    Table 1: Tax offset amounts

    Your circumstances

    Zone A

    Zone B

    Special area

    Overseas forces

    You were able to claim the fixed amount only (you were not able to include a base amount)

    $338

    $57

    $1,173

    $338

    1. Are you claiming the zone tax offset?
      No – Go to step 4.
      Yes – If you received a remote area allowance from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs you must reduce the amount of your zone tax offset by the amount you received for this allowance. Go to step 4.
    2. Work out your tax offset amount using the Zone or overseas forces tax offset calculatorThis link opens in a new window.
    3. Enter the amount of your tax offset into the Offset amount field.
    4. Select Save and continue when you have completed the Offsets section.

    Definitions

    Child or student

    Child includes:

    • your adopted child, stepchild or ex-nuptial child
    • a child of your spouse, and
    • someone who is your child within the meaning of the Family Law Act 1975 (for example, a child who is considered to be a child of a person under a state or territory court order giving effect to a surrogacy agreement).

    A student must be full-time at a school, college or university.

    Dependant

    A dependant must be an Australian resident for tax purposes. A dependant can be:

    • your spouse
    • a child who is under 21 years old (see above) and is not a student
    • a student under 25 years old who is studying full time at school, college or university
    • an invalid or an invalid carer.

    Maintaining a dependant or another person

    You maintained a dependant or maintained another person if any of the following applied:

    • you both lived in the same house
    • you gave them food, clothing and lodging
    • you helped them to pay for their living, medical and educational costs.

    If you had a spouse for the whole of 2019–20 and your spouse worked at any time during the year, we still consider you to have maintained your spouse as a dependant for the whole income year.

    We consider you to have maintained a dependant or maintained another person even if the two of you were temporarily separated, for example, due to holidays or overseas travel.

    If you maintained a dependant or maintained another person for only part of the year, you may need to adjust your claim accordingly.

      Last modified: 01 Jun 2020QC 62348