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ATO audit could catch out uninsured foreign visa holders

21 February 2018 - 10:04am

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will soon investigate more than 20 million international visa holders and foreign students, according to a recent media release from the organisation. Over the next three years they'll use data-matching techniques to identify tax avoidance, superannuation non-compliance and other related incidences.

For that reason, it's more important than ever that foreign visa holders take care to ensure they're complying with tax law and meeting all of the conditions of their visas.


The ATO will be looking closely at international visa holders over the next three years. The ATO will be looking closely at international visa holders over the next three years.

What does this audit mean for you 

The Australian tax office audit of foreign visa holders means if you hold a foreign visa of any kind it's very likely that over the next three years the ATO will investigate you.

They could be looking at the information they have about you, your sponsor, your education provider and your migration agent. They are also likely to review address records, travel movements, visa lodgments as well as records from financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19. 

If any discrepancies are found the ATO says individuals will have 28 days to respond to a request for information before administrative action is taken. Get out ahead of the investigation and get your house in order now. 

What do you need to do to protect yourself?

The best thing any foreign visa holder can do to protect themselves is ensure they're meeting all the conditions of their visas, and abiding by all other relevant Australian tax law. That means your income tax must be filed by the due dates, superannuation contributions must be made correctly and on time and you must be meeting all other specific visa stipulations. 

Depending on a visitor's specific circumstances, health insurance cover may be necessary for visa compliance. There may also be Australian Medicare Levy Surcharge Taxation implications.

In fact, most international visa holders are required to have some form of health insurance cover for overseas visitors, and a lack thereof is something that may be bought to the fore when the ATO starts their investigation.


Don't get caught out - make sure you're meeting all the conditions of your visa including health insurance. Don't get caught out - make sure you're meeting all the conditions of your visa including health insurance.

Meeting Australian foreign visa health insurance requirements

Student visas require a health insurance package designed specifically for them. Many other visas holders require overseas visitors health insurance for migrants to Australia to meet their visa requirements. Furthermore, certain countries have reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia, so if you're visiting from one of these health insurance may not be required as a visa condition.

If you're an overseas visitor to Australia or a sponsor of international visitors, and want to ensure that health insurance arrangements are appropriate and compliant, get in touch with a broker here at HICA to review your health insurance cover.