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Higher Education Loan Programme – recovery of repayments from overseas debtors

In the 2015–16 Budget, the Government announced that Australians who have a Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debt and are residing overseas will be required to make repayments against their debt. Collection and recovery of these repayments will be based on the current regime existing for those living in Australia. That is, an income-contingent based repayment made through the income tax system.

Overseas HELP debtors that are non-residents for taxation purposes will be required to register with the ATO through myGov and then at the end of each financial year, submit a special return declaring all their Australian and foreign-sourced income so as a compulsory repayment can be raised by the ATO and communicated to them through the same medium. Some of the key points to the new measure include:

  • Applies to all existing and future HELP debts
  • Legislation to commence 1 January 2016, with first compulsory repayments to be made from 1 July 2017, based on the 2016–17 income year
  • Debtors to register with the ATO through MyGov. Those already overseas have until 1 July 2017 to register. Those leaving for Australia after the measure commences will need to register before they leave


Griffin & Associates

79 Denham St, Townsville City QLD 4810

Phone 07 4772 6588

Chartered Accountants