Proposed legislation brought to light recently, has changed the recovery method of overseas HELP debts.

Previously, if Australians were living outside of Australia after accruing a HELP or HECS debt, they were not required to pay the debt back until re-entering the Country. Now, if living overseas for more than 6 months with a HELP Debt still applicable as of July 2017, you will be required to start payments regardless of where you live.

Eligibility for payments still applies and is as follows:

  • Have a HECS/HELP debt as of July 1, 2017
  • Lived overseas for more than six continuous months
  • Earn equivalent income above threshold, currently $54,126

Payments can be made by using the MyGov site to notify the ATO of your income threshold. The ATO will then issue a request for payment and a timeline to reconcile the debt

Penalties can apply for those who avoid repaying their HELP/HECS debts. Fines of up to $3,600 AU, if income is not disclosed upon re-entry into Australia can dampen the best holiday spirit.

To avoid any confusion, voluntary payments are a great idea to reduce the amount that could be compulsory if the above circumstances apply to you. These pre-payments can be made by contacting the ATO on 132 861 for a PRN (Payment Reference Number). BPAY, Credit Card, Cheque and Direct Deposit are all excepted methods.

As for the HELP repayment bonus received when making pre-payments on a debt, these will be removed as of January 1st, 2017.

If you require information about HECS/HELP debts or new legislation, you can call us on 07 5444 1022 or email info@gpla.com.au.