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  • Square away with the ATO before you ship off overseas

    The ATO is reminding Australians planning to move overseas not to get caught out by recent changes to the compulsory repayment of Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) and Trade Support Loans (TSL) debts.

    Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said Australians with a HELP and/or TSL debt planning to move abroad for longer than six months need to be aware of the requirement to provide overseas contact details within seven days of leaving the country.

    “We know the last thing on people’s minds when they’re planning a big overseas move is talking to the Tax Office. That’s why we’re encouraging people affected by the recent changes to use our online services and let us know before they leave,” Mr Whyte said.

    “For most people nowadays, it’s quicker and easier to update their contact details via our online services. If you haven’t accessed our online services before, you will need to create a myGov account, link it to the ATO, and then update your contact details, including your international residential and email addresses.

    “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.”

    Mr Whyte said the new requirement was part of changes to the HELP and TSL schemes announced earlier this year by the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham.

    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.”

    More information about overseas repayments can be found on the ATO website: www.ato.gov.au/overseasrepayments

    Last modified: 09 Feb 2016QC 47932