ATO HELP/HECS repayment thresholds and rates for 2017

ATO HELP HECS repayment thresholds and rates

Have you or are you currently studying at university? If so, you are likely to have a HELP/HECS debt.

Notifying your Employer

You are required to let your employer know that you have a HELP debt, this can be done via an Employment Declaration form at the commencement of your job or at any time thereafter should you start studying. Your employer will withhold extra tax to cover your end of financial year HELP repayment when your tax return is completed.

At the end of the year, when you complete your tax return, based on your HRI income (HRI= Taxable income plus any total net investment loss, which includes net rental losses, total reportable fringe benefits amounts, reportable super contributions and exempt foreign employment income.) the ATO will calculate how much HELP will need to be paid. The rates for the 2016 – 17 year are set out in the table below.

The HELP is calculated based on your HRI income and the extra tax that has been taken out of your wages by your employer is in most cases enough to offset the amount of HELP due.

Voluntary Repayments

Voluntary repayments can be made at any time, as from the 1st January 2017 the repayment bonus is no longer available. The payments are in addition to the compulsory payments and are not refundable.

Living Overseas

If you have been living overseas and you have a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) for the year ending 30th June 2017 you will be required to lodge a worldwide income report to the ATO via the MyGov website and if the amount in Australian dollars is greater than the thresholds below then you must make a compulsory payment off your loan.

2017 Federal Budget

The changes to the HELP debt as from the 1st July 2017 for the year ending 30th 2018 will see the minimum income, to start repaying HELP debt, be lowered to $42,000. The repayment rate will increase with income, from 1% at the minimum threshold to 10% at A$119,882, the maximum threshold.

2016 – 2017 HELP Repayment Thresholds

Repayment income (RI*)Repayment rate

Below $54,869


$54,869 – $61,119


$61,120 – $67,368


$67,369 – $70,909


$70,910 – $76,222


$76,223 – $82,550


$82,551 – $86,894


$86,895 – $95,626


$95,627 – $101,899


$101,900 and above