Author Topic: Aussie HECS Debt for Expats  (Read 241 times)

SaucyAussie

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Aussie HECS Debt for Expats
« on: November 16, 2017, 07:24:15 AM »
So it seems like the Australian Government is getting pretty serious about chasing down these old HECS debts.  I have been in denial about it, but the way healthcare is going in the US, the possibility of returning to Australia to take advantage of the universal health system is becoming more of a reality.  An outstanding HECS debt could certainly screw up this plan.

I called the ATO and they told me my HECS debt is only around $10K (AUD).  While this was a huge relief, I don't exactly have a good option to pay this right now, I would probably have to look for some kind of credit card with a 0% promo rate, and pay if off over a year.  Ideally, I would rather let that debt sit until I am in a better position to pay it (I stop paying alimony in Oct 2018).  (FWIW my worldwide income is around $150K).

My concern is, if I keep ignoring this debt for a bit longer, what are the potential negative ramifications?  Could I start getting hit with penalties (above and beyond the indexation)?  Could I be held up by Australian immigration authorities if I tried to re-enter the country as a visitor?

Tee

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Re: Aussie HECS Debt for Expats
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 07:07:16 PM »
It looks like If you have a hecs debt You are required to report your income whether or not you are over the threshold. If you are it looks like they will levy you like they would ifvyou were in Australia. You won't need to pay the whole amount in one go I don't think.
Do the right thing.  You were supposed to report your income by 31 October so I'd do that right away.

marty998

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Re: Aussie HECS Debt for Expats
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 07:29:11 PM »
https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Study-and-training-support-loans/Overseas-repayments/

In case you haven't read it (and for the benefit of everyone else) here is the relevant link.

SaucyAussie

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Re: Aussie HECS Debt for Expats
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 07:45:58 AM »
It looks like If you have a hecs debt You are required to report your income whether or not you are over the threshold. If you are it looks like they will levy you like they would ifvyou were in Australia. You won't need to pay the whole amount in one go I don't think.
Do the right thing.  You were supposed to report your income by 31 October so I'd do that right away.
Yep, that's my next step, I bit the bullet and created an account on Mygov.com.au but hitting a snag on the ATO online services - I click the link to "Report Income" and it just comes back with "No lodged tax returns found", with no option to lodge a return.  This may be because I have passed the deadline, and I will need a tax agent to submit for me.  Sounds like another call to the ATO is in order.

I can see that my HECS debt has indexation applied each June, the last 2 years it was 1.5%.  It does not appear that any fines or penalties have been assessed at this point. 

I wonder if I am just better off making a voluntary repayment for the full amount and be done with it?  Would that mean I don't need to mess with lodging a return?

The good news is, I was able to submit an overseas travel notification which is another new requirement.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 10:00:27 AM by SaucyAussie »