Oz taxman to chase expat graduates working overseas for student loan repayments

Published:  9 Jul at 6 PM
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Aussie expats have been warned by the taxman they’ll be chased for student loan payments.

An announcement by Australia’s Taxation Office has warned Oz graduates now living and working abroad not to forget about their student loan debts. The taxman is planning to begin contacting new graduates taking on jobs overseas as well as those who’ve already left the home country.

ATO’s assistant commissioner Karen Foat told the media it’s easy to forget about setting up loan payments during the excitement of starting a new life and career overseas, adding that leaving the country doesn’t cancel student loan debts. She noted the Australian tax authority has the power to pursue such debts in any world country. Expat graduates holding student loans from the Higher Education Loan Programme HELP, the Trade Support Loan and the Vocational Education and Training are to be contacted and reminded of their obligations, with the average student loan taking around nine years to clear.

Recently passed laws now require former students travelling overseas to file an overseas travel notification as well as providing their new forwarding address to the ATO. From the beginning of July this year, those earning in excess of A$45,881 a year must start repayments, as the former threshold of A$55,000 is now obsolete. Statistics published on January 31 this year, show some 3.2 million Australian graduates have outstanding student loan debts, with the total owed a massive A%66 billion. The average typical HELP student loan debt now stands at just over A$20,000, dependent on the course and its length, and includes a low interest rate based on the rate of inflation. Unfortunately, the scheme is not offering forgiveness of the loan after a set payment period.
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