Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sneaky Tax Office

Perhaps sneaky isn't the right word. Confusing might be. And add to that how clueless I have been about my own finances - not a great combination.

Turns out I owe about a $1000 more than I thought on my student debt. Yeah, how'd I miss that? A whole thousand dollars? Since I had no idea how much I owed as a whole number, I had thought the balance included the amount I was currently repaying that last years tax had generated.

Not up on student debt deal in Australia? Here's how mine works... I borrowed the fees from the government, this is called Hecs (since renamed HELP - isn't that sweet! Gag) Then you don't have to start repaying it until your yearly income exceeds $50,000, you can pay it back at any time but like an idiot I just pretended it wasn't there. Then when you complete your tax each year your repayment is calculated and your tax return is withheld and you owe any of the extra due that year.

Here's what I didn't realise. The tax office holds two "accounts" for you. One which hold the balance of the calculated repayment that is due that year (tax account) AND one which holds the balance of the original debt (loan account). I was looking at the balance of the original debt only and not adding the repayment amount due.  The result being:

Debt balance.              $1803
Repayment balance.   $  901

This has all been added together now so technically I no longer have a student debt, I now am the proud owner of a tax debt of $2896.85. Congratulations.

Eagle eyed readers would notice that those two numbers don't total 2896.85, this is because  there is interest on top but that is definitely the bottom line. Finally I actually know how much I really owe.

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