Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Something I learned about taxes for the casual worker.

It’s no secret that I’m no fan of the numerals. Give me a 10,000 page novel and I’ll be happy. Give me a single, closely-printed page of numbers and I literally have a brain-freeze. I’ve learned how to do basic budgeting/investing calculations, but it’s safe to say that I don’t run towards mathematics with open arms. So I was grateful to my son, Tom30, for explaining something to me in an easy to understand way.

Tom30 is an accountant. It certainly isn’t my fault – I blame his father. (That’s a little joke…) Tom30’s great passions in life are sport and numbers – both are things I avoid wherever possible. The apple fell far from the tree in this regard!

I was curious as to how much money I’d be making each day by my CRT work, once tax was taken out. I asked the other CRTs over lunch the other day and got answers rangeing from $220/day, which seems rather low, to amounts that were much higher.

I decided to ask an expert. Tom30 knows a lot about tax returns.

When I asked how much I could expect to take home after a day of CRT work, he looked puzzled.

“I can’t answer that. It’s impossible,” he said.

But why?” I asked. “Surely the tax is at a set rate each day?”

“No,” he said. “Teachers are paid each fortnight, yeah?’

I nodded.

“Well, what the tax department does is look at each fortnight, see the number of days you’ve worked and then they tax you as if this was the amount of days you worked as a full-time worker. So if you worked one day, you’d be taxed far differently than if you worked nine days, for example.”

Light began to dawn on my mighty intellect.

“Ahhh. So if I worked one or two days I’d probably be taxed at the lowest rate, but if I worked ten days in a fortnight I’d be taxed as a full-time teacher?”

“Yeah. So that’s why it’s impossible for me to give you a flat rate,” he said.

I totally get it. And now I’m waiting with bated breath for Wednesday. That’s when I’ll get paid for the days I’ve already worked. Assuming I don’t break a leg or get covid overnight or something, when tomorrow finishes I’ll have worked 7 days in a fortnightly pay cycle. I’m really curious to see how much I get to keep.

For those who don’t remember, CRTs get $384/day. Superannuation as well as tax is deducted from that total.

The following pay cycle includes a week of holidays. I’m already booked to work a day next week and I’ll accept more days if they arise. It’ll be interesting to compare how the daily rates change.

Of course, when the end of the financial year comes along, it’ll be REALLY interesting to see how much tax I end up paying. I’ve had 8 months of not working at all, but of course I’ve drawn money down from dividends and the like to live off.

Fortunately, I won’t be the one doing those calculations. Imagine the hot mess my finances would be in if I did? That’s where accountants become my favourite people in all the world.

Anyway, apologies to the numbers people, (assuming any of them have still read this far.) This stuff is probably blindingly obvious to you, but I thought that if I didn’t know this, possibly other people didn’t know either.

Dad joke of the day:

I’ve conquered my addiction to chocolate, marshmallow and nuts. I won’t deny – it was a rocky road.


  1. Jeff

    Dear Frogdancer,
    Too many of us confuse mathematics with arithmetic. Mathematics is the Queen of the Sciences. Now that you have some time, I strongly encourage you to explore the sheer beauty of Maths. There are lots of popular science books out there on Maths. I can recommend Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh as a good place to start.

    If you’re feeling you want more, then treat yourself to a good quality foundation textbook. I can recommend Foundation Mathematics by Kenneth A. Stroud and Dexter J. Booth

    Mathematics is everywhere in this Universe. We should embrace its beauty! I think it’s crazy that we shut Maths out of our lives all because we had a bad experience with a bad teacher at school decades ago. Knowledge is power. And you may not look at the plants in your garden in quite the same way…

  2. Kathy Aylward

    I’m like your son, I love numbers and I worked for an Accounting firm for 13 years in admin so I learnt a lot about many things. In Australia the first $18,200 is tax free so you won’t pay any tax. After that the rates below apply.

    Taxable income Tax on this income
    $18,201 – $45,000 19c for each $1 over $18,200
    $45,001 – $120,000 $5,092 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $45,000

    These are on the ATO website including over $120K – or google individual tax rates 2021-2022. Then there’s Medicare levy and whether you have private health insurance etc. to add to tax owing. Have a good week.

    • FrogdancerJones

      But… but if I work it all out myself then I won’t get the thrill of discovery each fortnight I work!

  3. Amy

    Why is super deducted from the daily rate? That doesn’t seem right. You can easily work out how much tax will be withheld from your pay by using the ATO’s tax withheld calculator: There is also a tax table if you prefer.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Um… all I know is that super gets paid somehow by sorcery or something.
      I’ll find out how much when I log nto my super account at the end of the month. It’s all about the thrill of discovery!

      • Amy

        Haha, if it’s all about mystery and surprise, then you’re all organised!

  4. steveark

    Pray tell, what does CRT stand for? I’m sure your “local” readers know but here in the US. I’m making the wild guess that the T stands for teacher and maybe the C stands for certified?

    • FrogdancerJones

      CRT stands for ‘Casual Relief Teacher’. Basically what used to be simply called an Emergency Teacher before they gussied up the terminolgy.
      There’s an abundance of work at the moment due to a combination of covid and school camps (lots of teachers having to go supervise), so I’ve decided to make hay while the sun shines.

  5. Maureen

    It seems you are thoroughly enjoying the hay making, so all the better!

    • FrogdancerJones

      It’s not too bad. I’m still in the honeymoon phase though.

  6. sandyg61

    This little maths brain loves to work out this and then look forward to doing my tax return. LOL So if you assume you work 7 days pfn and there are 7 paydays to EOFY you will pay no tax. That might alter a little from dividends etc and how they are taxed. But in essence you will receive a tax return for all you have paid and you also won’t earn enough to have to pay the Medicare levy. Nice won and a great bonus for Antarctica.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Well, now I’m a little bit excited.

      • sandyg61

        Thought you might be.

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