A tax file number is like a Social Security Number (US) or a National Insurance Number (UK). It indicated to the government which tax bracket you will be in You can not apply for a TFN until you have entered the country.
As a foreigner, before you can apply to will need to meet the following criteria.
What you need to apply
You have a valid forign passport with a permanent migrant or temporary working visa
You are currently in Australia
Your visa is: a permanent migrant visa, a student visa, a visa with the right to work, or a visa that allows you to stay and work in Australia indefinitely (this includes NZ who are granted visas on arrival).
An address to send the TFN to
Visa classes included
How to apply?
online! You will need your passport info and visa.
You do not need an agency or a lawyer to apply for a TFN. There are companies that do it and submit it to the Australian Tax Office if you wish.
During the application process your information will be crosschecked with the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection records which were taken when you entered the country.
It generally takes between 10 and 28 days.
The Australian Tax Office advises to make sure that you give your tax file number to your employer as soon as you get it otherwise you will be taxed at the highest rate (this is the same kind of system as used in the UK).
Within 28 days, we will send your TFN to the Australian address you give us on your application.
When you start work
Your employer will give you a Tax File Declaration Form complete this with your TFN.
You have 28 days to supply your employer with the TFN if you mark on the declaration that you have applied for a TFN.
If you already have one when you start you have 14 days to provide your employer with the information.
If you do not supply the TFN to your employer within the allotted time they will have to hold 47% as a foreign resident employee unless the ATO advises not to. This can happen if you have not received the TFN and your employer or you contact the ATO.
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/Fortnightly-tax-table/?page=2