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Get to work.

You’ve secured your first job, now we’re here to help you set strong foundations for your working life.

Getting paid.

Many professions in Australia actually offer pay based on an award system. If your job is one of them, make sure you’re getting paid the right wage for your award and experience with our helpful guide.

Working out what you should be getting paid.

Need to figure out what award you should be receiving? Simply visit the Fair Work Ombudsman and check out their pay calculator to find out what it should be. Your award is what outlines your industry’s minimum wages, penalty rates, and employment conditions – it’s what your employer legally must abide by when deciding your wages.

Fill out your details using the information on your payslip,,and pop them into the pay calculator. If you don’t know your exact title or level of employment, there are drop down menus along the way that will describe the kinds of roles you might be expected to complete in each position to help you decide.

At the end, the calculator will show what you should be getting paid, including penalty rates if applicable. You should be getting paid this rate or more, but if you’re getting paid less than the award wage, there are steps you can take. Don’t forget, this doesn’t apply to all industries, so check first to see whether yours is applicable.

Being underpaid?

There are two ways you can tackle the problem:

1. Talk to your boss.

Give your boss the benefit of the doubt, they might not know they’ve been underpaying you. Point out the problem and they might fix it right away. There’s a process for back-paying employees who have been underpaid, which you can read about here.

2. Talk to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

If your boss won’t fix the situation, then it might be worth talking to the Fair Work Ombudsman. You can lodge a concern anonymously against your workplace, or you can chat to an advisor by submitting an online enquiry or giving them a call.

Being mistreated in the workplace?

You might be getting paid the right amount, but that doesn’t mean your employer is treating you the way they should. Each workplace is different, but if you’re having an issue, you should try to work it out with your employer. If, after that, the matter still can’t be resolved, you might want to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman. To best decide what you need to do and who you need to talk to, visit the site.

Tax 101.

There’s no avoiding taxes, so it’s a good idea to find out what’s generally involved in lodging a tax return. Don’t forget, tax can be complicated, and we can only give you a general rundown of how it works. If you need specific help or advice, you can get in touch with a professional tax advisor.

What are taxes?

Taxes are a portion of your income that is taken out and given to the government. They fund a number of things, like education, defence, health, and welfare. Tax is compulsory for most workers and is usually deducted each time you get your pay slip. If you’re self-employed or earning investment income, you’ll need to put money aside and prepare to pay your taxes at the end of the financial year, or potentially pay through PAYG (Pay As You Go) instalments.

The financial year

A normal calendar year runs from January to December, but the fiscal year (more commonly referred to as the financial year) starts on July 1 and ends on June 30 in Australia. If you have a job, you must lodge a tax return by October 31 each year.

Lodging your first tax return

You can do it online through mytax in three easy steps:

  1. Get your payment summary (aka group certificate) from your employer. This is a summary of everything you have been paid by your employer that year, and how much has been deducted in taxes.
  2. Find your tax file number (TFN). If you’re employed, you probably already have one of these, and it should be listed on your payment summary. If you think you have a TFN but can’t remember what it is, you can see what to do here.
  3. Set up a myGov account, which you have to verify by calling 132 861. After that, you can log in and follow the prompts for declaring your income.

How much tax will I have to pay?

In Australia, we pay tax on a sliding scale based on your taxable income. The higher it is, the more tax you have to pay, and vice versa.

You can find the actual scale on the ATO’s website. Make sure you know which tax bracket your income falls into.

Will I get money back by doing my tax?

Your employer is required to deduct tax from your income each time you get paid, on the basis that your pay and circumstances are consistent throughout the year. When you lodge your tax return at the end of the financial year, some of this could be credited back to you. This amount is shown in the payment summary.

The amount of tax you pay depends on your taxable income and tax offsets, if any. Your taxable income is calculated using your income, minus any allowable deductions for the relevant financial year.

Based on this, if the amount of tax you need to pay is less than what’s already been deducted, you’ll generally get a tax refund when you lodge your tax return. Conversely, if the amount of tax you need to pay is higher than what’s been deducted, you’ll need to pay more tax to the Australian Taxation Office.

What can I claim as a tax deduction?

There are certain expenses you could claim for deductions to your income, for instance, some work-related expenses. If you incurred work-related expenses, make sure you keep the receipts, as you may be able to claim them as tax deductions (although if your employer provides these items for you or reimburses the cost, you can’t claim them on your tax return).

How we can help.

Get your working life off to a good start with everything you need to know about starting your first job and tips for setting an everyday budget and sticking to it.

Don’t forget, we’re not aware of your individual situation or needs, so we can only give you general tools and tips. Make sure you consider the full story before you act on any information or advice.