expats returning home

Financial tips for expats returning home to Australia

Returning to Australia for good is a financial milestone for any Australian expat, but we’ve got a few financial tips to help expats returning home to expertly plan for leaving your adopted home.

Plan ahead and seek advice early!

This may seem obvious, but planning your return to Australia way in advance is so beneficial and seeking advice about returning home (from your advisors) well in advance is absolutely critical. Failing to do so can be incredibly costly.

When thinking about returning, you’ll be surprised by how much you have to arrange, as well as the financial challenges repatriating can entail. For example, choosing the right time to sell any investments (with a good exchange rate) can greatly impact your financial position. The earlier you start to consider your options, the more flexible you can afford to be. If you’re overwhelmed by the process, you can always seek help from an expat advisor.

Consider your family home

If your former family home is no longer suitable for your lifestyle upon your return to Australia, you could consider upgrading to something bigger. Not only will this benefit the whole family, but there are some great financial and tax benefits to this plan also, such as generating tax losses.

Plan for the future

While you have been away, it’s possible the cost of living in your home country has increased. Therefore, before you move you need to monitor your financial situation closely and ensure that any job contract you negotiate will sufficiently cover your living costs once you’re back in Australia.

Don’t attempt to hide anything

Almost everything related to your finances is visible to the government, so don’t fail to declare your income or attempt to hide your assets. A good strategy can easily manage any tax implications you face.

Transfer pension funds within six months

If you have accumulated money in an overseas pension fund, you may be able to transfer the money to a superannuation fund tax-effectively if you do it within six months of arriving in Australia. However, superannuation legislation is complex, so don’t forget to ask your advisor about this too.

Don’t panic about paying tax on your savings

A lot of people worry that any money they bring back will be taxed by the government, but this is not true. Cash and savings can be brought back tax-free, but any earnings made on this sum once you’re back in Australia will be taxed. You can also leave these funds in an overseas account if you wish, but you’ll need to pay tax in Australia on any interest earned, and if the account balance is more than $250,000, you’ll have to declare any foreign exchange gains and earnings each year.

If you’re planning on moving back to Australia we highly recommend that you reach out to our team to book a ‘Returning Home’ tax consultation with our Expat Tax Services team today.

Shane Macfarlane CA
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