7. TAX AND SUPER
When you cease working for an employer, make sure you get a payment summary, showing your total income and amount of tax withheld. It is essential to keep this for your compulsory tax return.
The tax form (to be completed after the end of the tax year on June 30) may seem like a chore, but isn’t too complicated. Plus, if you’ve not worked full-time for the whole year you’ve almost certainly paid too much tax, meaning you’ll be in line for a tasty windfall, often over $1,000.
You can either do the form yourself or pay an agent to do it (normally about $100). When filling in your tax return ask yourself, “Am I a resident for tax purposes?” Anybody staying in one place for any length of time can say they are, and so receive a tax-free threshold and a lower tax rate.
Info at ato.gov.au.
Another one to remember is your superannuation contributions (which is like a state pension). If you earn over $450 a month, your employer is obliged to pay contributions (equal to nine per cent of your salary) into a fund. When you leave the country you can claim them back. This can be a hassle, but again, agents will take the stress out of it for a fee. Unfortunately, you will be taxed between 30 and 40 per cent on your claims and you cannot make the claim until you have left the country.
8. HOME TIME
Depending on how long you want to stay, how comfortable you want to be and whether you enjoy a party every night, there’s plenty of options for where you lay your head each night. When you’re on the road a hostel dorm room (the bigger the better) is obviously your cheapest option. Don’t always be too hasty to move on, however, with most places offering discounts for staying a week. Ask if they have any jobs going. You can often do a few hours of cleaning or reception work in return for a free stay.
If you’re staying a bit longer, you’ll save cash by moving into mid-term accommodation. This normally requires a commitment of at least one month and will see you in a big furnished house, normally with bills included.
Longer term, you’ll have to get a lease on a flat/house. This will involve having references, paying a bond up front (normally a month’s rent) and signing up for anything from three months to a year in advance.
Unfurnished rental properties are the norm in Oz, but there are specialist estate agencies who have got rooms good to go. It’s also well worth checking out gumtree.com.au for room share options and second-hand furniture.