Catherine Addy worked as a waitress in Sydney in 2017 using a working holiday visa, known as a 417.
The visa is offered to foreign nationals aged between 18 and 31 who want to work during their stay in Australia.
Visa holders with a 417 are taxed 15 per cent on all income up to A$37,000 (£20,200) – a higher rate than Australians, who aren’t taxed on income up to A$18,200 (£9,956).
Ms Addy argued that the tax, introduced the same year she was working in Sydney, discriminated against her due to her nationality.
She earned A$26,576 (£14,538) that year working at two different pubs, and was taxed A$3,986 (£2,180) - an Australian would have been taxed less than half that amount (A$1,591/£870).
The tax was unfair due to an existing international “double tax” agreement Australia has with the UK, Germany, Israel, Japan, Norway, Finland, Turkey and Chile, her lawyers claimed, arguing that citizens of these nations should be taxed at the same rate as Australians.
“The question is whether that more burdensome taxation was imposed on Ms Addy owing to her nationality. The short answer is yes,” read the ruling from the High Court of Australia.
“Most working holidaymakers will be non-residents as they are in Australia to have a holiday and working to support that holiday,” said a spokesperson for The Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
They said the judgement only applied to travellers from the eight countries with the “double tax” agreement who had been in Australia on the working holiday visa since 2017.
The tax had been a “disincentive to working holidaymakers to take up much-needed seasonal picking work while visiting Australia“, argued Taxback.com, which supported Ms Addy in bringing the case to court.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies