Reporting student HELP debts to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

When is HELP data sent to the ATO?

All student HELP debts, including revisions to debts, are reported to the ATO four times each year.

Reporting to the ATO flow chart

The table below outlines the timetable for the transfer of student debts to the ATO. It is essential to report all data and outstanding revisions, including any remissions of student debts, by these dates.

Quarterly reporting dates for student and revision submissions Student debts sent to the ATO
[Transfers usually require 4-6 weeks to process all files for each period]
31 May June
31 August September
31 October November
31 March (following year) April

As a higher education provider, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure accurate and timely reporting of all students' HELP debts. This includes revising any incorrect data as soon as practicable after an error is identified or a debt is remitted in special circumstances. While HELP debts and revisions can be reported at any time, all revisions to student debts must be reported no later than the four reporting deadlines.

What if data is reported after a deadline?

It is important to be aware that data is not transferred to the ATO outside these timeframes.

If you report your data late and miss a reporting deadline your HELP debts will not be included in the data transferred to the ATO. Your students' latest data will not be sent to the ATO until the next reporting period, which may be several months away. This may seriously disadvantage your students and cause additional administrative work for you as students may be waiting on revisions to their HELP debt to be reported to the ATO before they can finalise their tax returns.

Accurate and timely reporting of HELP debts will minimise disadvantage to students and reduce administrative work for everyone!

Urgent manual revisions

From 1 July 2014 the ATO no longer accepts requests from providers or students to directly revise a HELP debt. All HELP debts incurred from 1 January 2005 must be reported to HEIMS using the standard submission and revision processes.

If data is reported on time in the quarterly reporting timeframes this will significantly reduce the likelihood of students having inaccurate HELP accounts where the ATO is in the process of issuing a notice of assessment. However there may be some instances where a student has a compulsory repayment to make or believes the amount of their repayment is incorrect because the ATO has not received the revised data in time before a notice of assessment issues. To avoid this situation, providers should advise students of the delays in reporting and ask them to contact the ATO directly to discuss delaying their lodgements (if possible) until after the debts are reported. If the student has already lodged and received a notice of assessment with a compulsory repayment, the ATO may grant a payment arrangement until the debt is revised and the compulsory repayment corrected.

Students can contact the ATO by phoning 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

The Opens in a new window: ATO website also provides detailed information for providers and students about repaying HELP debts.

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