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Australia > Australia FAQs > Banking and Taxes

Banking & Taxes

How do I open a bank account?

In Australia, people keep their money in a bank, building society or credit union. Most income including salary and wages and government benefits is paid directly into an account. Australians use bankcards and credit cards for many purposes.

It is advisable to open a bank, building society or credit union account within 6 weeks of your arrival. You usually need only your passport as identification to be able to do so.

After 6 weeks you will need additional identification to open an account, and you may have difficulty if you don't have many documents. Provide your bank with your Tax File Number (TFN) to avoid higher rates of taxation on interest earned.

For further information on opening a bank account go to the website below:

Smarter Banking - make the most of your money www.bankers.asn.au

How to apply for a tax file number?

Taxes are paid on income earned, such as, a salary from a job, business earnings and interest earned on money deposited in a bank. Taxes are collected by the Australian Government and are used to provide welfare services, income support, roads and health services and other services and infrastructure. States and territories also collect taxes called stamp duties on certain transactions and services. This money goes into funding state and territory services and infrastructure. Everyone receiving income or financial support from the government is required to apply for a Tax File Number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The Australian tax year runs from July to June. Under Australian law most people are required to lodge a tax return each year.

More information on taxation can be obtained from the ATO website www.ato.gov.au or by calling 132 861 to make an appointment at an ATO office nearest to you. Tax Help is a free service available from 1 July to 31 October each year and can help people from non-English speaking backgrounds complete their tax returns. Phone: 132 861

Superannuation

Superannuation is a savings program that helps workers to have money to live on when they retire. Almost every employed person in Australia must join a superannuation fund and employers are required by law to contribute to an employee's super fund. This is known as the Employer Superannuation Guarantee contribution.

Further information on superannuation and taxation is available from the Australian Taxation Office.

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