Today we’re going to explore HECS and HELP debt for Australians who are living and working outside of Australia.
What’s Changed For Australian Expats?
If you’ve completed studies at an Australian institution in the past and have a HECS or HELP debt, prior to 2016 if you were working outside of Australia you didn’t actually need to start making repayments for this loan. However, from January of 2016 this all changed.
What Do I Need To Do?
The rules now state that if you are living and working outside of Australia, you must report your income via your MyGov account. If you don’t already have a MyGov Account, head to my.gov.au and go through the set-up process. You will need your Australian tax file number and some personal details to be able to set up your account. I’d also recommend that you download the MyGov Access app on your iPhone so that you can generate your One Time Pin to be able to login.
The threshold to start making repayments for your student loan is approximately $55,000, in Australian Dollars equivalent, each year. You must report your income by around the 31st October each year through your MyGov account. If you fail to lodge you may face penalties, so I’d recommend getting onto this as soon as you can.
What Else Should I Consider?
If you do have a HECS or HELP student loan, you may also want to consider whether making additional lump sum repayments is in your interest. Most of these loans don’t actually increase over time and are typically interest-free or at least grow at a very small rate, so consider what’s right for you.
If you’re looking to borrow money in Australia to purchase a home, or if you’re looking to refinance existing debt, you may find that your student loan reduces your borrowing capacity, so be sure to explore this as well.
If you have any questions at all about your HECS or HELP loan and you’d like to discuss it with us, feel free to reach out to me on the contact details below. Likewise, if you have a personal finance question that you’d like me to explore in a future video, let me know and I’d be more than happy to consider it.
See you next time!