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408 Pandemic event visa

How you're taxed on a 408 Pandemic event visa will depend on your residency and previous visas.

Last updated 18 December 2022

COVID-19 Pandemic event visa

A COVID-19 Pandemic event visaExternal Link (408 Pandemic event visa) is a temporary visa endorsed by the Australian Government. It allows you to legally stay in Australia and continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How you're taxed when on a 408 Pandemic event visa depends on your residency for tax purposes, and in some cases, the visa you were previously on. Your tax residency may be different to your residency status for other purposes.

Your residency for tax purposes

For tax purposes in Australia, individuals will be either:

  • an Australian resident
  • a foreign resident.

Your tax residency will depend on your circumstances.

Obtaining or moving to a 408 Pandemic event visa doesn't, of itself, determine or change your tax residency.

Your tax residency doesn't automatically change if you get a second or subsequent 408 Pandemic event visa. You should consider your tax residency regularly throughout the year and take the appropriate action if your tax residency changes.

Residency changes and 408 Pandemic event visas

Your tax residency can change if your circumstances change, for example, if you decide to stay in Australia and move to a permanent visa.

If you move to a 408 Pandemic event visa because you are unable to return home or are working in a critical sector, and nothing else changes, your tax residency will not change.

For more information or help with your residency, see Your tax residency or you can contact us.

If your tax residency changes during an income year (1 July to 30 June), your tax obligations will usually change.

Tell your employer if your tax residency changes and follow the instructions when completing your tax return, including completing the question about the 'Part-year tax-free threshold'.

For more information on preparing and lodging your tax return, see How to lodge.

Workers previously on a temporary visa

There is no change to how you are taxed in Australia if all the following apply:

  • you were previously working in Australia on a temporary visa other than a 403, 417 or 462 visa
  • you moved to a 408 Pandemic event visa during COVID-19
  • your tax residency did not change.

If you:

  • were a foreign resident for tax purposes before moving to a 408 Pandemic event visa, continue to lodge your tax return as a foreign resident
  • were a resident for tax purposes before moving to a 408 Pandemic event visa, continue to lodge your tax return as a resident
  • become a resident for tax purposes, lodge your tax return as a resident. It is important that you correctly note when you become a resident in your tax return so that you're not charged the Medicare Levy for the period you were a foreign resident. The tax-free threshold will be pro-rated for the period you are a resident.

Different rules may apply to:

Workers previously on a 403 visa

There is no change to how you are taxed in Australia if all the following apply:

Foreign residents

Most people who come to Australia under the SWP or seasonal (short-term) PALM scheme are foreign residents for tax purposes.

The 15% tax withheld by your employer continues to apply when you move to the 408 Pandemic event visa.

You don't need to lodge a tax return or a non-lodgment advice with us if you are a foreign resident for tax purposes working in the SWP, even if you move to a 408 Pandemic event visa.

Australian residents

Most people who come to Australia under the PLS and long-term PALM scheme are Australian residents for tax purposes. This is because they form a connection with Australia and intend to make Australia their home.

Australian resident tax rates continue to apply to you when you move to a 408 Pandemic event visa. Your employer will continue to withhold tax when they pay you.

Lodge your return as a resident of Australia, even if you moved to a 408 Pandemic event visa.

Becoming an Australian tax resident

Your residency will only change if your circumstances change.

Start of example

Example: change in residency on 403 SWP visa

Sam was a foreign resident working in Australia on a 403 SWP visa before moving to a 408 Pandemic event visa to stay in Australia during COVID-19. During this time, he was offered and accepted an opportunity to stay in Australia for 4 years working in the long-term PALM scheme. This change in Sam's circumstances means he became an Australian tax resident from the time he decided to stay in Australia long-term and commenced establishing strong connections with Australia.

End of example

The 15% concessional tax rate will cease to apply at the time you become a resident. If you become a resident for tax purposes you must lodge a tax return every year. You must include all your income, including your PALM scheme income from the time you became a resident. Don't include your PALM scheme income for the time you were a foreign resident in your tax return. You have already paid your final tax on this income.

It's important that you correctly note when you become a resident in your tax return so that you're not charged the Medicare Levy for the period you were a foreign resident for tax purposes. The tax-free threshold will be pro-rated for the period you are a resident.

Workers previously on a 417 or 462 visa

If you are a working holiday maker (WHM) who previously worked in Australia on a 417 or 462 visa and moved to a 408 Pandemic event visa during COVID-19, how you are taxed depends on:

You will:

Foreign resident

Most people who come to Australia as a WHM are foreign residents for tax purposes.

The 15% WHM tax rate continues to apply when you move to the 408 Pandemic event visa.

You don't need to lodge a tax return or a non-lodgment advice with us if both of the following apply:

  • all of your income was earned as salary or wages while you were a WHM.
  • your total taxable income each year was less than $45,001 for 2020–21 and later income years.

Australian resident from an NDA country

Australian resident tax rates continue to apply to you if you are an Australian tax resident from an NDA country and you moved from a working holiday maker visa to a 408 Pandemic event visa.

Follow the instructions in Taxation of Australian resident WHMs from NDA countries when you lodge your tax return.

Australian resident not from an NDA country

If you are an Australian resident WHM from a country that is not an NDA country, when you move to a 408 Pandemic event visa:

  • Australian resident tax rates will apply to the income you earn from the date you move to a 408 Pandemic event visa up to and including 30 June 2022
  • the 15% WHM tax rate applies to the income you earn from 1 July 2022, even if you remain on the 408 Pandemic event visa after this date.

Your employer will continue to withhold tax when they pay you.

When you lodge your 2021 and 2022 tax return, you will:

  • tick the box to show you have assessed as a resident of Australia
  • include your WHM income and the income you earned while on the 408 Pandemic event visa as employment income
  • only include your WHM income earned while on a 417 or 462 visa at the WHM label.

When you lodge your 2023 or future year tax return, you will:

  • tick the box to show you have assessed as a resident of Australia
  • include your WHM income earned while on a 417 or 462 visa and the income you earned while on the 408 Pandemic event visa as employment income and at the WHM label.

Becoming an Australian tax resident

Your residency will only change if your circumstances change.

Start of example

Example: change in residency on a 417 and 408 visa

Sally was a foreign resident while in Australia for 12 months on a 417 WHM visa. She then moved to a 408 Pandemic event visa to remain in Australia during COVID-19. Sally then decided to make Australia her long-term home. She started to establish strong connections in Australia to support this, including applying for a permanent visa. This change in Sally's circumstances means she becomes an Australian tax resident.

End of example

If you become a tax resident, you must lodge a tax return every year and include all of your income. It is important that you correctly note when you become a tax resident in your tax return so that you're not charged the Medicare Levy for the period you were a foreign resident. The tax-free threshold will be pro-rated for the period you are a tax resident.

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