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wage, tax

and money

1. opening a bank account

Newsflash: you'll need one of these to get paid.


Generally, if you are 12 years old or older, you will be able to open an account in your own name. You need to be able to sign a consistent satisfactory signature and provide details, such as your full name and date of birth. You will also need to provide proof of identity like:

  • Your birth certificate;

  • A current passport;

  • Australian citizenship certificate;

  • A letter from the your school on letterhead signed by the Principal or Deputy Principal verifying your name, date of birth and school attendance; or

  • A current signed student photo identification card.

It is important to select the bank and account that best suits your needs, because each bank has different account options, fees and charges. Most banks have ‘fee-free’ students accounts. Check out all banks and credit unions for your best option.

Usually banks offer internet banking and phone banking which are also very handy. Discuss this option with your bank, and ask them to talk you through how to use them. They are all very happy to help. 

2. tax

When you start employment, your employer will ask you for your Tax File Number, or TFN, and to fill out an employment declaration form for tax purposes. Every person in Australia who receives income from an employer, or a business, or Centrelink is required to have a TFN. You can get a Tax File Number from the Australian Taxation Office, who collects tax from all adult Australians on behalf of the government. The government then uses this money to pay for things like healthcare, roads and schools. It is important to give your employer your Tax File Number otherwise tax will be taken out of your pay at a much higher rate. You can get a tax file number by filling out a form available at Post Offices, or by applying here.


The first $18,600 you earn in a year is tax free (no tax removed from your pay) and is called the “tax-free threshold” (current July – Jun 2015). You will be asked on your employment declaration form whether you would like to claim the “tax-free threshold” for this employer – your answer will be YES if this is your only employer. If you have two jobs, it is better to claim the tax-free threshold from the employer who gives you the most hours or pay.

3. work and centrelink

f you receive Austudy, keep in mind that there is a limit to how much you can earn each fortnight before it affects yours Centrelink payments. You need to report your income to Centrelink fortnightly. Make sure you report the correct gross (before tax) earnings amount. Keep payslips and record any receipt numbers Centrelink give you. Failing to declare your income, or being dishonest about your earnings can get you into serious legal trouble, so take the time to properly understand your obligations. 


Here is some very useful information about how it all works. 

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