1. Home
  2. »
  3. Individual Tax Rates (Resident)
  4. »
  5. Hecs Repayment
  6. »
  7. Trade Support Loan Repayments

Trade Support Loan Program & Repayments

The TSL Program is intended to help encourage apprenticeships in targeted occupations, by providing apprentices with loan support during the period of their apprenticeship.

As loans, they are tax free, and must be repaid from after-tax earnings through the tax system. The repayment system is modelled closely on the existing HELP program for higher education.

Features of the TSL scheme

The loan scheme is available to Australian residents (citizen or PR, residing in Australia) with a tax file number, a bank account and meeting the occupational apprenticeship criteria.

Loans are targeted to priority occupations published online.

The scheme pays up to a lifetime maximum of more than $21,000 (indexed annually) payable over 4 years, each year having a maximum loan amount. The current amounts can be reviewed here.

Repaying the loan

Loan debts are to be CPI-indexed annually and repayment thresholds (also indexed) will be the same as HECS/HELP income levels. For repayment schedules and, see HELP Student Loan Scheme Repayments

Repayments take the form of extra income tax which is payable once income goes over a threshold. “Income” for this purpose is “repayment income”, which is the total of:

  • taxable income
  • reportable fringe benefits
  • total net investment loss (including net rental losses)
  • reportable super contributions
  • any exempt foreign employment income amounts.

There is a bonus 20% debt discount for apprentices completing their apprenticeship. The discount is subtracted from loan payments received.

Employment information for TSL loans

Because the repayment of a TSL debt is essentially by way of an income tax surcharge, it is important that employers (pay officers) are informed of the existence of a debt so that the correct amount of tax can be withheld from wages, to avoid an unanticipated shortfall at tax time.

Notification is achieved by the employee ticking the correct box on the employment TFN declaration form (Nat 3092). Should a variation to an already lodged declaration be required, the Withholding declaration (NAT 3093) is used.

For tax withholding rates, the correct tax withholding amount rate should be calculated which incorporates the HELP/TSL repayment amounts, based on income level. Links to the weekly, fortnightly and monthly loan component tax withholding schedules are here. These schedules are used to find the additional loan repayment amount to add to the usual tax withholding amount.

Further information:

This page was last modified 2020-06-30