Workers due tax refunds from Australia
THOUSANDS of young people who went on working visas to Australia in the past four years are entitled to claim between €3,000 and €4,000 back in tax and pensions payments from the Australian authorities.
Average income tax refunds for anyone who spent a year working 'down under' are €2,000, according to tax experts.
People who were in Australia last year can claim from today -- as the Australian tax year ended yesterday. It is mandatory for all workers who earn more than $450 a month (€311) to pay into a pension in Australia.
Those who have returned to Ireland after working there can reclaim this pension money, according to Fidelma McGuirk, managing director of the income tax division of Kilkenny-based company taxback.com.
Almost 23,000 Irish people got a visa to travel to Australia in 2008, while last year almost 7,000 visas were issued to Irish people, according to Australian government figures.
Ireland is ranked third of all the countries in terms of the number of working visas issued.
People could apply for a tax refund as soon as the tax year ended or as soon as they left Australia, Ms McGuirk said.
For those in professional positions, such as engineers and accountants, the tax refunds can be much higher.
Tax refunds can be claimed as far back as 1998. Anyone who has paid into the mandatory Australian pension scheme is entitled to get their money back, less an exit tax at 27pc, if they leave the country.
The tax expert said that pension fund and tax refunds of between €5,000 and €6,000 were not uncommon, while people who held professional positions in the country may be entitled to as much as €11,000 back after working there for two years.
Ms McGuirk said income tax refunds could arrive as quickly as two weeks after people submitted an application directly to the Australian Taxation Office or through an intermediary.
The recession here has seen a surge of Irish people moving to Australia, although many have moved permanently.
Your Money: pages 38-41