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Old 08.12.2015, 16:30
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HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

I've googled about the new regulations due to take affect in july 2017 which will see Australians living overseas with HECS debt required to repay the debt, assuming they earn over a certain amount ($55,000 or close to)

I'm interested in people's opinion on how they will enforce this. My limited understanding is that if you're not an Australian resident you do not have to file a tax return (I hope not, I haven't done one in 12 years) and I also read somewhere that while living overseas you're not even obliged to tell the australian government where you are or what you're earning. If that's the case, will they change these rules? I can't see how else it could be enforced.

Just to be clear, I'm just interested - I don't have a hecs debt because I didn't go to uni. Just thought I'd throw that out before I got the comments saying I should pay for my education. What education mate!
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Old 08.12.2015, 17:41
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Re: HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

The Swiss request that you pay any outstanding debts when entering Switzerland - maybe Australia will do the same.
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Old 08.12.2015, 17:45
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Re: HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

Good question....and how will we be required to pay ? If we (husband and I) suddenly had that extre debt thrown at us...we would be financially stretched and might not be able to pay...they are saying it will be applied retrospectively...but does that mean we will suddenly get an enormous bill...

To be honest, quite a few people will probably pay it off in a lump sum, in fear of the changes, and I wonder how many of those 46,000 actually earn above the threshold, and even if they are above the threshold, it is paid as an extra few percent...

I suspect the administrative cost of 150million over 10 years...for 46,000 individual people....may well outweigh the actual benefits...for an average of 3,600 per person, they might do better to index the debt (or apply interest) and hang onto it until the person returns eventually to Australia, then hit them with a bill then...our HECS debts are not gone, they still index to the CPI each year, and if we were to return (quite likely earning a lot more than we did when we left Australia), then the government can get it back then!

Last edited by swisspea; 08.12.2015 at 18:17.
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Old 08.12.2015, 18:08
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Re: HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

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........not even obliged to tell the australian government where you are or what you're earning......
ummm

A little bird told me that Australia may be hopping onto the band wagon of the European Automatic exchange of Information thingie that was started in January 2015 on the back of the American Tax mess...

https://www.sif.admin.ch/sif/en/home...austausch.html


I suspect that you only have to pay tax on income earned in Australia though, as an Australian-non-domicile.

https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/D...Non-residents/

How they sort out the debt?
No idea.

But in this Information Age, it wouldn't be that hard to find people.


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Old 08.12.2015, 18:20
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Re: HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

For the cost of transferring the money back to Australia (around 20chf per transaction), plus the cost of preparing an Aussie tax return each year.... and the hassle of worrying about it... I expect the government will get a fairly big 'lump sum' of repayments of people who want to get it out of their hair...

I get the 'fairness' argument, but it may also be a pandoras box of giving government access to overseas earning information which they currently cannot get... and that perhaps bothers me more...
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Old 08.12.2015, 18:27
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Re: HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

The repayment rules are here.

http://studyassist.gov.au/sites/stud...loan-repayment

But neither that or the FAQ seem to mention being resident abroad.
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Old 08.12.2015, 18:29
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Re: HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

The thing is that the repayments are levied as an extra tax through the tax return. Non residents don't have to make a tax return in Australia unless they have income in Australia, so therefore no HECS repayments.

It's not the whole balance that is due...just a few percent of income.

For the record, I earn under the threshold anyway, so won't need to pay it back, but how does the government know that? Unless I tell them ? If I'm not over the threshold, will I still have to make a declaration, or will they just assume I will be honest and pay when I am supposed to...and how will they track me down anyway ?
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Old 09.12.2015, 09:29
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Re: HECS debts [aussie]- how will they enforce the new rules?

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But in this Information Age, it wouldn't be that hard to find people.
I disagree, it isn't that easy to find information on people especially if you require the cooperation of several government agencies. Sure, there is systems set up to deal with specific information sharing such as when a person is arrested in England but they're from another country a request can be sent and that persons crime record is checked in their home country. That is quite a standard procedure nowadays but that involves criminals and does not apply in tax situations.

I think it's easy to find information on people if you're a sleuth but not so easy if it starts to get offical - agencies refusing to share information will be the norm.

For example to find me you'd need to know where my husband works to get my address or request it from my family. Why would my husbands work provide information on me to a government agency if requested? I guess if they knew what country I lived based on where I last flew to from Australia then they could write to every canton asking for my details? Just looking for someone like me would be very time consuming and expensive.

But doable none the less.
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