Banking & Super
New to the workforce? There are a few things you will need to set up and have ready for your first day. Don’t worry, it may seem a little complicated but you’ll only have to do it once. Below is your introduction and some helpful links to get you started.
Tax File Number
A Tax File Number (TFN) is a simple 9 digit code that the Australian Tax Office will use to track your tax contributions. Technically you don't have to have one, but if you don't you can't receive government benefits, run your own business (because you won't be able to have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or lodge your Tax Return online. You will also be taxed at a higher rate if you don’t get one so take the time to register and obtain your TFN.
Setting up a TFN is as easy as filling out some forms and going to your local Post Office but depending on your circumstances there are different steps:
- If you are a resident click here to apply
- If you hold an overseas passport or a permanent migrant or if you are only here temporarily on a Working Visa or if you can live here indefinitely without Visa restrictions head here
Need further information?
Then check out myGov
it’s a one stop shop (website) for all the government online services you will need. You can access Medicare, Centrelink and the Australian Tax office simply by setting up an account and following the prompts. It’s a simple and effective way to store all your information in one place and access these government entities when needed. Registration is free and it will take you about 15 minutes to set up from start to finish.
New Bank Account for Work
So you landed a job and now need somewhere to keep all that money you will be making! There are infinite options when it comes to where to keep your money and just as many reasons to consider each one, but let’s just keep it simple to start with.
Work out what is important to you and your specific needs before you choose a bank to sign with, some of these things might be:
- ATMs – does the bank your signing with have ATMs in your area? You don’t want to get stung paying $2.50 every time you withdraw money from another ATM.
- Overseas transfers – Do you use and need access to this type of telling?
- Online apps/transferring money made easy – How accessible is their online banking? Can you pay bills, transfer and withdraw money on the go?
- Online shopping – Will you be using your card for online shopping and if so are there any fees involved for overseas purchases?
- Does your bank offer a credit/debit card solution? – You can use your debit card as a credit card if you have applied for that type of card. That just means you are actually using your own money instead of the banks to make purchases. It gives you the opportunity to use your debit card to make purchases online for shopping or purchasing concert tickets and alike.
- What perks do the banks offer? – By shopping around you can compare offers from each of the banks and see which offers work for you and your banking needs.
- Student/youth discounts – Ask your bank if they offer cheaper rates and fees if you are a student or under the age of 21
- Minimum deposit – Another popular offer in the market is that you must make a minimum deposit of $1,000 - $2,000 to take advantage of a specific offer. The deposit can take the form of your pay so it can be an easy way to take advantage of this kind of deal.
Setting up an account
Most banks and credit unions have easy and quick online account applications but you will still be required to line up at a branch or the Post Office and prove who you are, obviously every financial institution is different but generally you will need a variety of Primary and Secondary ID. Some examples of Primary ID are your driver's licence, current Passport, Australian Proof of Age Card or National ID card. Generally, a Secondary ID is official government issued like a Birth Certificate, ATO Assessment Notice or Medicare Card.
Read the fine print:
Take the 10 minutes to read the product disclosure statement (PDS) for your selected bank, banks don't make billions by giving away everything for free, it's all in the fine print
There are a few sites around that can help you compare accounts before taking the time to read the full disclosure, a few of these comparison sites are:
These may help you narrow down your best options.
So what exactly in Superannuation?
Superannuation or Super as it is known, is a saving of funds to provide you with income when you retire from work. You’re probably thinking retirement is years away but it’s important to think about it now. It is compulsory for employers to make superannuation contributions for you on top of your salaries.
Does my employer have to pay it?
The short answer is yes. If you have a job (full time, part-time or casual) and you earn more than $450 in a calendar month, then your employer is required to make contributions to your superannuation fund. Superannuation is normally calculated at the rate of 9.5 per cent of your wages.
Note: If you are aged less than 18, Superannuation contributions are only payable if you work more than 30 hours per week.
Can I have more than one Superannuation account?
It is advised to only have one superannuation account. Having multiple accounts can get messy and expensive! Each account will typically have a fixed administration charge of at least $100 a year, the more accounts you have, the more administration fees you will pay.
How do I consolidate my Superannuation accounts if I do have more than one?
Consolidating super accounts is not hard. All you have to do is log into your myGov
account and go to the ATO section to view the superannuation accounts you hold. Consolidating your super into just one account is only a few clicks away once you have mastered your myGov
How do I know if I’m getting paid Superannuation?
If you are employed, check your payslip and your superannuation account transaction records to make sure you are getting the contributions you are legally entitled to. If you are not, the first thing you can do is take it up with your employer. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can also help you with information and advice on your super entitlements and recovering any contributions your employer has not paid.
How do I choose a Superannuation fund?
There are many companies to choose from, this link
can help you to make the right decision about which Super company is right for you
Head to the ATO website
for more information
Saving and budgeting
So now you are raking it in, it's time to consider how to store it and make the most of your incoming money.
It’s always important to save money, whether it’s a holiday you have planned or for a rainy day. Try these tips and tricks to get you saving like a pro:
- Stay away from credit cards, if you don’t have money in the bank don’t buy it
- Tell your most responsible friend or someone in your family about your saving goals so they can remind you before you buy that second coffee or choose a cocktail over the house wine.
- Take your lunch to work each day, can be a really simple way to save money
- Save on bills by being more electricity aware around the house.
- Have a separate savings account that you can transfer a weekly savings amount too that gains high interest and you can’t transfer out of via your banking app.
Sites and apps to help you save
There are so many apps for helping you to budget and save, if you want to compare a few try:
- Budget planner
- Money Lover
- Good budget
Like everything, you need to consider your own personal position, long term and short term goals and what you are willing to sacrifice and change to meet these goals.
At the end of the financial year you must lodge a tax return if your taxable income was more than $20,542 for that year. The tax return will show your earnings and also how much tax you have paid during the year. Sometimes you get tax back (if you have overpaid) and other times you have to pay tax, depending on your income, job and your tax threshold.
In Australia the financial year starts on 1st July and ends 30th June and is also referred to as (FY2016/2017)
Lodging your tax return:
To lodge your tax return you must first receive a Payment Summary (commonly referred to as a Group Certificate) from your employer, this will tell you how much you were paid & what amount of tax was withheld. Your Employer must give this to you by 14 July each year, even if your employment with them has been terminated.
- To lodge online using myTax you need to have a myGov account, if you don't you can set that up here
- If you already have a myGov account you can lodge your return here
If you haven't lodged a tax return before there are a few steps you need to follow:
- Step 1: Have your TFN and one of these at hand, your birth certificate, passport or citizenship certificate.
- Step 2: Create a myGov account.
- Step 3: Call the ATO on 13 28 61 and follow the prompts to get your unique code to verify your account.
- Step 4: Sign in to myGov, go to the Services page and link to the ATO. Select I have a linking code and follow the instructions as prompted.
This might seem painful but you only have to do it once!
What you can claim:
Now for the good bit, what can you claim? Much of this depends upon your job but a few items generally able to be claimed are:
- Vehicle and travel expenses
- Laundry & Dry cleaning
- Self-education (if it is related to your current role)
- Home office, phone and internet
For example: Tradies can claim such things as their tools and a hairdresser can claim equipment like a hairdryer or scissors. If you are planning on claiming, make sure you keep all of your receipts.
Remember if you have many claimable expenses that may sit in the grey area or you feel your claim may be a little more involved than some, seek professional advice from the ATO or registered tax agent.
You have to start paying your HELP debt through the taxation system once your taxable income is over a certain amount (the compulsory repayment threshold for the 2016‑17 income year is $54,869). When joining the workforce, make sure you speak with finance/payroll about paying your HELP debt, even if you are not earning the required amount, you will one day and if you do not set this up with your Employer, you may need to pay extra at Tax Time.
Where to get help?
Your return is due by 31 October 2017 unless you use an agent with extended lodgment deadline. Tax doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can be confusing at times. The ATO is surprisingly helpful and their website ato.gov.au
is pretty easy to navigate and has a 'chat' option if you need help finding answers to a general question.
Very few things are certain in life but tax is one of them and like most things, after you get the first time done it's not that big of a deal.
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