Picking grapes, serving sandwiches, handing out dog food… It was tough, but it got us aroundAustralia.

But more travel would mean more work? Maybe not – it’s tax time.

“More than 80 per cent of people who have worked in Australia get money back”, Alla Goldberg, from the Australian Tax Office, told us.

If you have worked in Australia, you are required by law to do a tax return and for many people who’ve been paying a whopping 29 per cent tax, this will produce a nice little pay bonus. Cash-back!

The 2008 Australian tax year runs from 1 July 2007 to 30 June and you are expected to make a lodgement between 1 July and 31 October.

So don’t wasted precious internet time on Facebook, instead visit www.ato.gov.au and fill in an online form. (If you want to save on the internet bill, pick up a “tax pack” from most newsagents).

If you lodge a tax return electronically it should be processed within two weeks (tax packs take about two weeks longer).

To complete the form you’ll need your Tax File Number and your PAYG Payment Summaries, which you should get from your employer(s) within the first two weeks of July (and it’s worth chasing them up). The summaries state how much you’ve earned and the tax you’ve paid.

There are some work-related tax deductions you could claim for (again, visit www.ato.gov.au for more info).

To be sure of collecting all you’re due, or if you simply can’t face the hassle, it can be well worth using a tax agent (the cost of which you can claim back as a work-related expense if you you’re still in Australia at the end of the next tax year).

Even if you’re leaving very soon, most tax agents offer to transfer your refund into your overseas accounts.

Plus, most people on Working Holiday visas should also be able to claim their superannuation back. 

“Thousands of people get the maximum tax back,” says Jessica Lantry from Taxback.com. “You aren’t expected to know the ins and outs of the Australian tax law – but our accountants do – it is their job to know it. 

“They take the hassle and stress out of applying.”

Work Contacts

For superannuation and tax:
Australian Taxation 
Office Ph: 132 861

Free work-related legal advice: 
A Whole New Approach
Ph: (03) 9809 2666

Dept of Employment and Workplace Relation
Ph: 1300 363 264

Dept of Immigration and Citizenship
Ph: 131 881 

June 10th, 2008