31 Mar 2005 4:20 PM
|The following quotes are from the Australian Taxation Office website www.ato.gov.au (Once there, I did a search for 'living away from home allowance').
'LAHA is an allowance the employer pays the employee to compensate for additional expenses incurred by employee because the employee is req'd to live away from their usual place of residence in order to perform their employment duties.'
You have a 457 visa and are being sponsored by an employer to move to Oz in order to work. LAHA is a taxation benefit the EMPLOYER pays YOU. Talk to the Australian hospital's Human Resources Department for confirmation that you will be getting this benefit. Be sure your husband fills out whatever LAHA paperwork is needed when doing all of his other HR paperwork so you get this benefit starting with the first paycheck.
'Employees who move to a new locality with an intention to return to their old locality at the end of the appointment would be treated as living away from their usual place of residence.'
Your 457 visa has an expiration date. Therefore, you will be returning home. Nowhere on the ATO's website does it mention a need to own property. We sold our house and we get LAHA. Of course should you decide to stay long term and get residency, the LAHA benefit goes away. However, you can reapply for a 457 visa and stay for 4 more years.
'Examples of employees on appointments of finite duration who will generally be living away from their usual place of residence are foreign nationals employed in Australia' Sounds like Tracey32.
As mentioned before, with LAHA your lease payments are tax free. We used this benefit to upgrade to a better rental house. Without LAHA, leasing a home for $800 a month, you would have to earn $1,120 ($1,120 - 40% taxation rate = $800). With LAHA, you can earn $1,120 and spend it all on a nicer, larger rental home.