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Foreign resident PAYG withholding – for individuals

An entity is required to withhold pay as you go (PAYG) from foreign residents (FRW).

Last updated 26 June 2023

When an entity will withhold amounts

You're a foreign resident if you're not an Australian resident for tax purposes.

An entity is required to withhold amounts from payments to you for:

  • entertainment or sports activities
  • construction and related activities
  • casino gaming junket activities.

For more information, you can:

Activities considered as entertainment or sport, construction, or casino gaming junket activities

Entertainment and sporting activities

Withholding applies to both individuals and groups in the sporting and entertainment industries. Examples include:

  • theatre companies
  • orchestras
  • rock groups
  • sporting teams (for example, cricket or soccer teams)
  • individual sports people (for example, golf or tennis players)
  • television commentators.

It may also apply to individuals who provide services through a company or other corporate identity.

Foreign residents who provide support in sports and entertainment industries may also be subject to foreign resident PAYG withholding. Examples include:

  • coaches
  • managers
  • hairdressers
  • trainers
  • doctors.

Construction industry

Withholding arrangements apply to payments made to a head contractor and subcontractors. Examples include payments made under contracts for the construction of:

  • natural resource infrastructure
  • shopping centres
  • resort developments
  • residential real estate.

It also applies to activities related to construction. Some examples include:

  • commissioning of infrastructure
  • training and support of personnel to operate it
  • supervision during the initial phase of operation
  • design and engineering
  • fabrication
  • repair and maintenance
  • supply of plant and equipment
  • transport, advisory services
  • auxiliary services such as catering.

Casino gaming junket activities

Withholding applies to payments for activities related to casino gaming junkets. Examples include:

  • contracting with casinos
  • contracting with players
  • translating or interpreting services.

Payments may include cash and non-cash benefits. Examples include:

  • monetary payments
  • flights and accommodation
  • food and beverage.

Foreign resident withholding doesn't apply to you if you're engaged as an employee.

How much will be withheld from payments

Withholding for construction and casino gaming junket activities

The PAYG withholding rates for foreign resident payees for casino gaming junket and construction and related activities are:

  • construction and related activities – 5%
  • casino and gaming junket activities – 3%

These are also the foreign resident individual tax rates used to calculate an end-of-year Australian tax liability when your Australian income tax return is lodged.

Withholding for entertainment or sports activities

The PAYG withholding rates for foreign resident payees for sports and entertainment activities are:

Withholding when no ABN is supplied

If you're a foreign resident or company involved in any of these activities and don't supply your payer with an ABN, they may withhold from payments at the top tax rate.

The withholding requirements where an ABN is not quoted takes precedence over the foreign resident withholding requirements.

Varying the rate of withholding

You can apply to vary the rate of withholding from your payments.

You will need to download and complete a printable version of the PAYG foreign resident withholding variation (FRWV) application (NAT 11097 PDF, 192KB)This link will download a file

You would usually apply for a variation when:

  • the payments include an amount that is not taxed in Australia (through the operation of a tax treaty or other exempt income)
  • you expect to have tax deductible expenses which will reduce your taxable income.

You may apply to vary the rate to zero, if the applicable amount is not taxed in Australia, and/or tax deductible expenses are equal to or greater than the payments which will be received.

To apply:

Foreign resident withholding variation
Australian Taxation Office
GPO Box 9977

What happens if variation to the withholding rate is approved

We will send a notice to your payer confirming the new rate. Your payer cannot vary the withholding rate until they receive this notice.

We will also send you a letter confirming the approval of your variation. The letter we send to you is not the official notice. Your payer cannot implement a variation using your letter.

When will you need an Australian business number

You may need to supply your payer with an Australian business number (ABN). If you don't, your payer may be required to withhold at the top rate of tax (47% from 1 July 2017) from your payments.

In limited circumstances you don't need to supply your payer with an ABN. These include where your income is either:

It is your payer's responsibility to be satisfied that you don't need to provide your ABN.

Phone +61 13 28 66 if you need help to:

  • determine whether you need an ABN
  • determine whether your income is exempt.

You can apply for an ABN online at the Australian Business RegisterExternal Link. If you need help, see registering for an ABN or phone +61 13 28 66.

When will you need an Australian tax file number

You will need an Australian tax file number (TFN) if you either:

To apply for a TFN, see:

If you don't get an Australian TFN

A TFN is not compulsory. However, without a TFN:

  • you can't lodge a PAYG foreign resident withholding variation (FRWV) application if your reason for application is tax deductible expenses
  • we can't process your tax return
  • it's more difficult for us to look up your records and discuss them with you
  • you can't apply online for an ABN.

If you need to lodge a tax return in Australia

You can use our Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool to work out if you need to lodge a tax return in Australia.

To prepare your Australian tax return, your payer must give you a payment summary. A payment summary is a document that includes details of:

  • gross payments you receive as a payee
  • amounts of tax the payer has withheld from these payments.