How to get financial help as an expat

Just because you’ve moved from Australia doesn’t mean you won’t need some help and advice about your tax returns and financial situation any more – in fact, you will probably need that sort of advice even more! That’s because while you are well accustomed to the sophisticated and streamlined systems in place in Australia, the other countries of the world are not all the same.

So you’re an Australian expat, you need help with your tax return or just some financial advice – where do you start looking now that you’re outside your comfort zone? Here are some tips:

Ask your friends

Like anything, a referral from a family member or a friend can be golden, so if you know someone who has been in your particular shoes, done the leg-work and come out smelling of roses on the other side, lucky you.

Check who the regulator is

As an expat, you are more vulnerable than before when it comes to the possibility that tax or financial advice you are seeking may be bad. And that could cost you money. So while an Australian tax or financial advice company will be well regulated, how can you ensure a company abroad gives you the same protection? Firstly, try asking, including requesting to see copies of certificates of registration, or try looking up on the internet if the country’s government keeps a public record of accredited companies.

Check their experience

Finding a good agency to help you with your Australian tax return or other financial matters may be no more difficult than finding a good new hairdresser, because the best evidence is experience and results. So ask them about satisfied customers that are in similar situations to you, and whether you can be provided with a testimonial. Another universal sign of a good business or agent is how long they have been in business, and how well qualified their staff are, so don’t be shy to do more asking and back it up with as much research as you can do.

Use your instinct

It may be a different country with different regulations and a different culture, but we’re all human at the end of the day and your intuition is as good in Australia as it is elsewhere. So make sure you feel comfortable with your advisor and sense that the tax and financial advice they are giving you makes sense. If you’re not comfortable and don’t quickly trust them, move on before it costs you.

Photo: Help! by GotCredit licensed under Creative commons 2
Shane Macfarlane
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Shane Macfarlane

CEO & Founder at Expat Tax Services
Shane's an Australian Chartered Accountant and Australian expat tax specialist who's also an expat himself (based in Asia).Shane's passionate about tax and legitimate tax minimisation, particularly as it relates to Australian expats who are often subject to high rates of tax back home in Australia.Beyond tax and accounting, Shane's an entrepreneur, having devised, created and founded a successful accounting startup, Fifo Workpapers (acquired by accounting software giant, Intuit inc. in 2013)

In short Shane's a tax and software techno-geek, who recognised that Australian expats were unable to obtain the specialist advice and quality service, that they needed from their accountants. Accordingly, Shane founded Expat Tax Services to provide Australian expats with access to specialist, quality advice at fair and reasonable prices (no hourly rates, fees quoted upfront with unlimited support included) . . . receive the support and advice you need without having to take second-mortgage to pay your accountant's bill! Speak to Shane & the team today.
Shane Macfarlane
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