Finding a job and paying tax in Australia

Job image

If you are a New Zealand citizen, you are legally able to live and work in Australia indefinitely.

If you aren’t a New Zealand or Australian citizen, you may need to apply for a work visa. See our Visas section for more information.


Job hunting

The majority of job advertisements are listed online – this is particularly true for full time roles. As in New Zealand, many roles are listed by Recruitment agents rather than by the employers themselves.

Check the following websites for listings:

You can start applying for roles before you leave but it helps if you are in the country and available for interviews. If you do apply prior to leaving, make sure to let the employer or agent know that your flights are confirmed and your date of arrival. This way they know that you are serious about finding a job in Australia.


Pay rates: What to expect

The amount you can expect to get paid will vary between states and cities. As of 2009, Australians were getting paid an average 30.5% (source) more than New Zealanders.

You’ll be able to get a good idea of what employers are paying by browsing the job listing websites and having a look at the Seek Salary Survey. Payscale.com also have some information to help you find out exactly what people in your industry are getting paid.


Tax

The Australian Tax Office is the equivalent of the IRD in New Zealand.

In Australia, a Tax File Number (TFN) is recorded for each worker. As with your IRD number, you do not need to have a TFN but if you don’t, you will be charged at a higher tax rate and may miss out on the $18,200 tax free threshold. The tax year in Australia runs from the 1st of July through to the 30th of June.

The rates for the 2014/2015 tax year are:

Taxable income Tax on this income
$0 – $18,200 Nil
$18,201 – $37,000 19c for each $1 over $18,200
$37,001 – $80,000 $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000
$80,001 – $180,000 $17,547 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000
$180,001 and over $54,547 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

It’s important to apply for your TFN so that you are not over-taxed and can take advantage of the $18,200 tax free threshold. This means that the first $18,200 you earn is tax free.

You can only apply for your TFN once you are in Australia but once you get there, you can apply online through the following link:
https://smarteform.com.au/onlineforms/ato/tax-file-number-application-or-enquiry-for-individuals/
(bookmark this page so that you can do this when you arrive)


Superannuation

In Australia, your employer must pay a minimum of 9.5% of your income into a Superannuation fund. Generally this money becomes available to you when you retire however some people are able to access it before then. We recommend seeking advice from your Super provider once you start working for information about your particular situation.

Many employers have a default Super provider that you can sign up with. This is the company that holds on to your funds for you. Alternatively, you may wish to choose your own provider when you move to Australia. A list of these can be found on the following website:
https://www.ato.gov.au/Super/Super-professionals/

Quick facts:

  • You need to be over 18 or work over 30 hours a week for your employer to pay Superannuation
  • You need to be earning at least $450 a month
  • If you are an NZ citizen and plan on returning to NZ, you can not withdraw your super funds when you leave. You can however transfer your funds to Kiwisaver if you are with a provide that supports that.

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