Tax Returns

by Sathesh
(Colombo, Sri Lanka)

My name is Sathesh and I live in Sri Lanka. I hold a permanent residency visa but I am yet to migrate to Australia, which I will be doing in the middle part of 2013.

I visited Australia in March 2012 during which time I opened a bank account as well as got my TFN. I have some small savings left in my Australian bank account for which I earn a meager interest of a few hundred dollars for the whole year. My question is, do I have to file a tax return to ATO since I am still living in Sri Lanka? If so how do I do it when I am still in Sri Lanka.

Your reply will be greatly appreciated!



Hi Sathesh,

You have two questions here:

  1. Do you have to file a tax return if you live overseas?

  2. As the saying goes, taxes are one of the few things that are certain in life.

    But to really be sure address the question to ATO, as they are the organisation that can rule what you need to do with any income that you earn in Australia.

    Before contacting ATO directly, visit their website - you might find the reply there.

    Look, this is the information that I found for you on their website referring to application or enquiries for tax file number for individuals living outside Australia:

    Download the pdf and check out page 3 about receiving interest. Then decide on your next steps.

    The ATO website has various other tools that can help you find out whether you need to lodge a tax return or not, so browse it attentively. Go to the "individuals" section and check out the tab "your situation" on the menu.

    If I were you I would phone ATO, explain the situation and ask what to do. Check the "contact us" page on their website and search for the number to dial when calling from overseas.

    You could also write to ATO. Though I would take action immediately. If you need to lodge a tax return, you have to do it before 31 October, so there's not much time left.

  3. How can you file the tax return if you live overseas?

  4. This one is easy to answer. Do it online.

    If you decide that you need to lodge the tax return, download the etax. You can find the path to it on the ATO home page

    Install etax on your computer, read the instructions and start filling it in. Review it and then click the lodgement button. You're done.

Hope this helps.

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