Any employer can hire a working holiday maker, especially where they need labour for a short period of time. Agriculture, hospitality, construction and domestic services often use working holiday makers or backpackers to meet this demand.

Working holiday makers hold a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) or Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) that allows them to work while in Australia. You should not employ or pay someone for work if they don't have permission to work in Australia.

From 1 January 2017, the working holiday maker tax rate of 15% applies from the first dollar earned up to $37,000, and then at normal foreign resident withholding rates for income over $37,000.

Regardless of their residency status, working holiday makers cannot claim the tax-free-threshold and must provide you with their tax file number (TFN). If they don't, you need to withhold tax at the top rate.

To employ working holiday makers in Australia on a visa subclass 417 or visa subclass 462, you:

  • must register with the ATO to withhold tax at the working holiday maker tax rate before making your first payment to them
  • should check your worker has the correct visa using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online External Link service.

Penalties may apply if you fail to register.