What are my tax obligations if I have more than one job?

March 24, 2021

It’s not unusual for individuals to have more than one job particularly due to the COVID economy. Whether it’s a side hustle in addition to their full time, part-time or freelance job, one of the most common mistakes individuals make when they have secondary income is to try and claim the tax-free threshold from all employers. Knowing your tax obligations is important to avoid penalties.

By claiming the tax-free threshold from all employers—instead of a tax refund—you will end up with a tax bill at the end of the financial year. To avoid a huge tax bill, you’ll need to keep careful records and may need to keep money aside to cover your PAYG tax. This doesn’t just apply to those with a passive income or secondary incomes, but those who also receive government benefits or taxable pensions and also have another source of income.

With an unstable job economy and employers offering casual contracts instead of full-time roles, it’s becoming more common for Australians to have two or more jobs.

As an Australian resident for tax purposes, you are instantly exempt from paying tax on the first $18,200 of annual income. On commencement of a new role, your new employer will provide you with tax forms to complete. It is your responsibility to indicate whether or not you wish to claim the tax-free threshold. If you make a mistake and claim the tax-free portion when you’re already receiving it from another employee, you won’t be paying enough income tax.

The Australian Taxation Office suggests that if you do have more than one job, it makes sense to claim the tax-free threshold from the employer where you earn the most. The second employer should be taxing you at a higher rate.

The only time you can claim the tax-free threshold without putting yourself at risk of a tax bill  is if you can guarantee your total income will be less than $18,200 for the financial year (and that includes government benefits, pensions or any other income you receive from rentals, stocks, interest).

If the total amount of tax withheld is more than the amount you owe the tax department, you will receive this in the form of a tax return. If the amount of tax withheld doesn’t meet your tax obligations, you will be expected to pay the outstanding amount. 

If your working circumstances change, you can complete an application for PAYG withholding variation so that you are not left out of pocket.

What should I do if I am not sure about my tax obligations?

If you have a secondary income and not sure whether you’re:

  • Not paying enough tax
  • Paying too much tax
  • Worried about a huge tax bill
  • Not sure how much to set aside for PAYG
  • What you can claim on your tax refund
  • Not sure if your benefits affect your income
  • or just generally confused

Contact us today so we can help you avoid any shocking tax bills at the end of the financial year. 


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