So, you’ve packed your bags and you’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Awesome!
But with regulations constantly changing for Aussie expats, it’s hard to know where to begin. Whether you’re moving abroad for adventure, work or retirement, here are top five tips for Australian expats moving overseas you need to do before leaving Australia.
Top 5 Tips for Australian Expats Moving Overseas
An important thing to remember is when leaving Australia, it’s highly likely that you won’t receive the 9.5% superannuation contribution from your employer anymore. A simple solution that may be possible for you (if you are eligible) is to factor into your budget the possibility that you may continue to make contributions yourself into your own superannuation fund. But beware as there are a few tips and traps that you should be aware of before doing so. Accordingly, we highly recommend that you seek advice before you do anything of this nature.
Outside of superannuation, there are other ways and other strategies that you can undertake to grow your wealth that do not involve superannuation some of which may be even more tax efficient (including the possibility of making gains that are NOT subject to Australian capital gains tax).
On this note, we highly recommend that every Australian embarking overseas to take an expatriate role should book and attend an “Outbound Expat” tax consultation with an expatriate tax practice such as ours. At Expat Tax Services, we offer this and other consultations and would be pleased to assist you. But regardless of whether you choose to utilise the services of our firm or not, let me reiterate that we highly, highly recommend that you book an “Outbound Expat” consultation with a specialist Australian expatriate tax firm as this will set you up for success whilst you are living and working overseas.
#2 Seek financial advice
In the excitement of moving overseas, many expats ignore the financial ramifications. The most common financial issues which can arise relate to their property/ies, debt, investments, superannuation and insurance. With sound financial advice, you’ll understand exactly which changes you need to make before moving.
#3 Inform Medicare
As a non-resident Australian expat, you will still be eligible to use Medicare for up to five years, or until the expiry of your Medicare card, whichever occurs first. Bear in mind however, that the more that you use Medicare, the stronger is the Australian Taxation Office’s argument that perhaps you have remained as an Australian tax resident – so use Medicare only sparingly! If you reside overseas beyond five years, you will no longer be able to receive Medicare. So, when you move back to Australia (to live permanently), you will need to re-enrol. Medicare benefits are not available outside of Australia. However, if the country you’ve moved to has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia, then you’ll be eligible for medically necessary treatment.
To learn more about your entitlement as a non-resident Australian expat to utilise Medicare when you return home for short visits take a look at an article that we wrote earlier – Medicare for Australian citizens overseas.
#4 Get an international national driver’s licence
An International Driving Permit (IDP) translates your Australian driver’s licence into nine languages. It’s also proof that you currently hold an Australian licence. While not required in all countries, this modest purchase can save a lot of frustration when you arrive.
#5 Update your details on the electoral roll
If you plan to return to Australia within six years, you can register as an overseas elector. However, if your move is indefinite, your name is removed from the electoral roll, meaning you’ll be unable to vote in Australian elections. You may re-enrol, however, if you move back to Australia permanently. To do this, you must live at your residential address for at least one month.
For more advice on what to do before departing Australia, or assistance with your Australian tax return,