In a Gazette notice on 5 July 2019, the ATO said it will acquire overseas movement data from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for individuals with an existing HELP, VSL or TSL debt. The data matching program will be conducted for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years.

Those living and working overseas with a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Vocational Education and Training Student Loan (VSL) and/or Trade Support Loans (TSL) are required to: 

  • update their contact details and submit an overseas travel notification if they have an intention to, or already reside overseas, for 183 days or more in any 12 months; 
  • lodge their worldwide income or a non-lodgment advice. 

The ATO says the data-matching program will identify HELP, VSL and TSL debtors to whom the HELP, VSL and TSL overseas obligations apply. The ATO will assess their status against ATO records and other data it holds to identify debtors that may not be meeting their registration, lodgment and/or payment obligations.

The data items that will be obtained are:

  • identifying particulars for the HELP, VSL and TSL debtor population (name, date of birth, ATO/DHA identifiers);
  • DHA overseas movement details (Passport number, passport country of issue, offshore status, departure and return dates) held on DHA system. 

The HELP, VSL and TSL debtor population affected by this data collection is expected to involve approximately three million individuals each financial year.