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Recovery of HELP and TSL debts from overseas Australians

10 November 2015

New changes implemented to recover HELP and TSL debts from overseas Australians

What has changed?
The Australian Government has introduced new repayment obligations for Aussies living overseas who have a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt. This will make the system fairer for everyone by ensuring that all Australians with a HELP or TSL debt are treated the same.

Until now, people who took out a HELP or TSL loan and moved overseas were under no obligation to repay their debt as long as they remained offshore residents. Now, anyone who has a HELP or TSL debt, who earns above the minimum repayment threshold, will repay their debt regardless of where they live.

What does this mean?

  • From 1 January 2016, people with HELP and TSL debts who move overseas for six months or more will be required to notify the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • From 1 July 2017, people with HELP or TSL debts who are non-residents for tax purposes will be required to assess their total Australian and foreign-sourced income in order to make income contingent repayments. This will start from the 2016-17 financial year.

What should I do?
If you have a current HELP or TSL debt (including those who have already graduated from study but are still paying off their debt) register for a myGov account and link your account to the ATO so that you can be contacted for updates and reminders. This is because, from 1 July 2017, if you are overseas you will use your myGov account to lodge an assessment of your world-wide income.

Using your myGov account, you can view your HELP debt online, confirm your payment reference number (PRN) and view payment options.