4 superannuation considerations for Australian expats

If you’re an Australian expat working overseas it’s very easy to lose track of your Australian superannuation. The stark reality is that the longer you’re gone, the harder it will be to create a superannuation balance that can fund your retirement. As with most things in life, planning and advice from a professional, can make a world of difference. Here are 4 facts about superannuation that might motivate you to explore your super situation better.

1. Lost super

If you’re overseas and not sure where your Australian super is, it might be sitting with your superannuation fund as a lost account. Alternatively, the Australian Taxation Office may be holding it as an ATO held account. The good news is that by using ATO online services through myGov, you can track down your lost super.

2. Contributing while overseas

In the majority of cases, Australian expats can keep contributing to their Australian super fund. Make sure you notify your fund that you are a non-resident. Some funds exclude non-resident members, which means you’ll need to rollover your super into a non-resident friendly fund. A professional can help you choose a super fund that suits your new situation.

3. Opting out

Many foreign countries such as the US, UK and Italy have good pension schemes that sometimes provide tax-deductible incentives for contributing. It may make more economic sense to invest in these funds and opt out of contributing to Australian super funds while you’re away. If your foreign pension is transferable to Australia, then there could be even more reason to contribute to it. A tax professional will help you understand the pros and cons of foreign schemes, especially in light of the impact on your Australian tax return.

4. Self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF)

Self managed funds are tricky. If you are a trustee or member of an SMSF, and a non-resident, then you may have a problem. Any Australian superannuation fund must be resident in Australia for tax purposes. Options for these situations include delegating your role as trustee to an Australian resident or winding up the SMSF and transferring the funds elsewhere. Professional advice is recommended in order to find the best solution.

At Expat Taxes, we specialise in expat tax returns Australia wide and beyond. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help with any questions you may have.

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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