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Repayment deadline reminder for overseas student loan borrowers

Inland Revenue is reminding overseas-based student loan borrowers that they need to make repayments by 31 March.

There are more than 720,000 student loan borrowers, 15 per cent of which live overseas. It is also estimated that $686 million of student loan defaulted debt is held by borrowers living overseas.

Maurice Lawlor, Inland Revenue's student loans business owner, said twice-yearly statements will be sent online soon for all borrowers who have a myIR Online Services account so they can see their current loan balances.

"The majority of overseas-based student loan borrowers are required to make payments every year, based on the size of their loan. They can either pay in two equal instalments in March and September or spread payments throughout the year.

"With the recent changes to the repayment threshold for overseas-based borrowers, it's essential students know how much they owe and what repayments they need to make. We cannot express enough that it is never too late for any student loan borrower to contact us so we can work with them on a repayment plan to suit their needs, or see how the new legislation may affect them.

"Inland Revenue is here to help - we want to help stop student loan borrowers getting more into debt and self-manage their loan. If repayment obligations aren't met then late payment interest will be charged which can quickly increase their debt.

"We want to remind those living overseas that we have many ways to repay their loans wherever they are. If they're in Australia, they can set up PayWay direct debits by calling us. This allows borrowers to easily pay back their loans in Australian dollars, from an Australian bank account and Inland Revenue bears the cost of the currency conversion," said Mr Lawlor.

"We also have fee-free payment options through online money transfer companies. There's a list of these companies on our website who can set up repayment plans for borrowers to make it easier and fee-free to repay student loans from overseas.

"I encourage anyone who has a son, daughter, cousin or friends overseas to get in touch with your loved ones and remind them their student loan repayments are due. The sooner the payments are made the less late payment interest charges are applied.

"They may have left the country, but their loan hasn't. It's the borrower's responsibility to repay their loan - and we can help them ensure they meet their obligation. It is important to remember that if you continue to ignore your student loan responsibilities Inland Revenue will be contacting you" said Mr Lawlor.