BACKPACKER TAX: Holiday makers are still trying to wrap their heads around the new laws.
BACKPACKER TAX: Holiday makers are still trying to wrap their heads around the new laws. Trevor Veale/The Coffs Coast Adv

Slim pickings for Backpacker Tax clarity

AS THE deadline for Backpacker Tax registration looms, the employers of working holiday makers are still in the dark about the new arrangements, according to Rachel Mackenzie from horticulture lobby group, Growcom.

Speaking with the ABC this week, Ms Mackenzie criticised the Federal Government for not providing clear information to growers about the changes which took effect on January 1, including a 15 per cent tax rate.

"Prior to Christmas, it was a complete mess with the ATO website being down and it was almost impossible to get a clear answer,” she said.

"I do think government needs to be a bit more proactive in this space and really push the information out through every possible channel.”

"Not just farmers, but labour hire companies and people who own cafes, anyone who employs a working holiday maker has to register."

Farmers and other employers of backpackers have until January 31 to register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to apply for the new 15 per cent rate, otherwise they face the full 32.5 per cent resident tax rate.

The 18 month long backpacker tax debacle which had been labelled a "saga” by many peak agriculture industry bodies came to an end last month with both houses reaching the compromise of a 15 per cent rate in the Australian Parliament, a resolution which was subsequently welcomed by the Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) president Stuart Armitage.

"The entire backpacker tax episode will be remembered as a disappointing chapter in Australian politics where farmers were used as pawns in an unnecessary, highly politicised power struggle,” Mr Armitage said.

"QFF is satisfied that the 15 per cent tax rate restores Australia's competitiveness as a destination for backpackers.”

"Queensland farmers finally have the certainty we have been calling for and deserve.”

Employers of Working Holiday Makers in Australia must register to be eligible for the changes before January 31 on the ATO website- www.ato.gov.au/TWHM/.


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