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Working Holiday Makers Owed Millions

Working Holiday Maker visa holders are owed Millions in Refunds from 2017 to 2021. We recommend anyone that lodged a 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 or 2021 tax return in Australia as a working holiday maker come forward and amend their returns and receive their refunds from the ATO.

Until recently Australia has enjoyed the benefits of reciprocal Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program that has helped our economy prosper and foster relationships with many from around the world.

It is not often we get to say that being “taxed as an Australian Resident” is GOOD NEWS! But in short, if you are or were a Working Holiday visa holder during 2017 to 2021, then the ATO probably owe you a refund.

What’s changed to make this possible?

As a result of the recent Federal and High Court decision, working holiday makers (WHMs) visa subclass 417 and 462 from the following countries will be taxed as an Australian resident for tax purposes.

  • Chile
  • Finland
  • Germany (for 2017–18 and later income years)
  • Israel (for 2020–21 and later income years)
  • Japan
  • Norway
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom 

In Addy v Commissioner of Taxation as decided in the high court, and eligible working holiday maker may be assessed the same as and Australian Resident if they are both an Australian resident for tax purposes and from a country noted above.

Am I an Australian Resident for Tax Purposes?

You are likely to be an Australian resident for tax purposes if:

  • You have always lived in Australia or you have come to Australia and live here permanently
  • been in Australia continuously for six months or more, and for most of that time you worked in the one job and lived at the same place
  • been in Australia for more than six months of the year, unless your usual home is overseas and you do not intend to live in Australia
  • go overseas temporarily and you do not set up a permanent home in another country
  • are an overseas student who has come to Australia to study and are enrolled in a course that is more than six months long.

For more on Australian Tax Residency please see our Blog HERE

In summary

As we said, it is not often we get to say that being “taxed as an Australian Resident” is GOOD NEWS! But to cut a fairly long story short, if you are or were a Working Holiday visa holder during 2017 to 2021, then the ATO probably owe you a refund. If you believe you are entitled to have your tax return reassessed, please contact us via One Click Life App or email us at accountant@oneclicklife.com.au with the Subject: WHM along with your nationality so we can assist you further.

FAQs


What if I was a Working Holiday Maker and now left the country? 

You will still be able to submit an amendment to your tax return even if you have now left the country.

How much will I get back??

This is dependent on how much tax you paid. Example: If you earnt $20,000 as a WHM you would have paid tax of 15% ($3,000) in tax. An Australian Resident for tax would pay $0 (no tax), so you would be due $3,000 as a refund. Calculations vary but our One Click Life Numbers Geeks will provide an exact number once we have reassessed your circumstances.

What if I am not from an of the listed countries?

Unfortunately this is a very specific decision, and only applicable to the outlined countries.

What is the process to get my refund?

Get in contact with One Click Life via accountant@oneclicklife.com.au or message us via the One Click Life app. Let us know you would like us to review your tax returns, confirm your nationality, and we will get back to you with an assessment.

How much does this cost?

For an individual tax return the cost will be $99 – which can be deducted from the refund.

You did my previous tax return, why did you not notify me earlier?

This ruling was only updated on the 17th of December 2021. We have been reviewing the legislation to confirm the process and identifying impacted clients.

How long will this take to receive my refund?

The ATO have been making arrangements to process these as soon as possible. However due to the manual process involved, can take approximately 30 – 60 days.

Where can I find more information?

More information is available via the ATO website: https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/ind/resident-for-tax-if-whm-/

I know others affected by this, but they didn’t do their tax return with One Click Life can you help them?

Yes, as long as they meet the criteria, they can contact us directly at accountant@oneclicklife.com.au with subject line “WHM” and we will advise the process.