How do I repay my HELP debt?
There are two ways to repay your HELP debt directly through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
You begin to pay back your HELP debt through the tax system once you earn above the compulsory repayment threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold is different each year.
- The compulsory repayment threshold for the 2023-24 income year will be $51,550.
Your compulsory repayments are calculated based on your income, not the size of your debt.
If you do not earn above the threshold, you will not have to make a repayment on your debt.
If you are working, you must advise your employer if you have a HELP debt. Your employer will use the Pay as you go (PAYG) withholding system to withhold amounts from your pay throughout the year. These are used to cover your compulsory repayment amount when it is calculated by the ATO.
If you are already working but are not yet having PAYG amounts withheld from your pay, you can tell your employer to start withholding amounts or complete a Withholding declaration online when logged in to your myGov account.
Voluntary repayments are in addition to compulsory repayments and are not refundable. You can make a voluntary repayment(Opens in a new tab/window) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) at any time.
How much will I repay?
The more you earn, the higher your repayment will be.
When you do your tax return, the ATO(Opens in a new tab/window) will calculate your income for the year and tell you how much your compulsory repayment is.
|2023-2024 Repayment threshold||Repayment % rate|
|$51,550 - $59,518||1.0%|
|$59,519 - $63,089||2.0%|
|$63,090 - $66,875||2.5%|
|$66,876 - $70,888||3.0%|
|$70,889 - $75,140||3.5%|
|$75,141 - $79,649||4.0%|
|$79,650 - $84,429||4.5%|
|$84,430 - $89,494||5.0%|
|$89,495 - $94,865||5.5%|
|$94,866 - $100,557||6.0%|
|$100,558 - $106,590||6.5%|
|$106,591 - $112,985||7.0%|
|$112,986 - $119,764||7.5%|
|$119,765 - $126,950||8.0%|
|$126,951 - $134,568||8.5%|
|$134,569 - $142,642||9.0%|
|$142,643 - $151,200||9.5%|
|$151,201 and above||10.0%|
Your renewable HELP balance and re-borrowing your repayments
Your HELP balance is renewable. Starting from the 2019-20 income year, any compulsory or voluntary HELP or VSL repayments made will top up a person's HELP balance. These repayments will be applied to a person's HELP balance after they have completed their 2019-20 tax return (and each year thereafter) and been issued with a notice of assessment from the ATO. Repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit. For more information on the new combined HELP loan limit and renewable HELP balance visit the combined HELP loan limit page.
I am making repayments, why aren't they showing?
While you might have weekly or fortnightly amounts coming out of your pay, the compulsory repayment on your HELP debt will only occur once you do your tax return.
What happens if I can’t afford repayments?
If making your compulsory repayment will cause you serious financial hardship, you can apply to the ATO(Opens in a new tab/window) to defer your repayment.
Can I cancel my HELP debt?
No. Once you have a HELP debt, you must repay it unless you meet 'special circumstances'.
What happens if I go bankrupt?
Your HELP debt does not disappear if you go bankrupt.
Repayments of your HELP debt will restart when you earn over the minimum repayment threshold.
What happens to my HELP debt if I die?
A deceased person will only make any compulsory HELP repayments for the period before their death. A trustee or executor will need to make these compulsory repayments.
The rest of the HELP debt is cancelled upon their death.