preparing to move overseas

Preparing to move overseas

Every year, thousands of Australian residents pack up their belongings to start a new life overseas. For some this move is only temporary (1-2 years), while for others it’s a permanent change. However, before you book your one-way tickets, there are a few things you need to get sorted.


As an Australian resident living overseas, you must declare all income. Even if tax was deducted from the country you live in. Expat Taxes are experts in international tax and will talk to you about what you can and can’t claim while living overseas. As Australian expats, we want our fellow compatriots to live overseas comfortably.


Before going overseas, you need to ensure you have all insurances in order. If anything were to happen to you, and you’re not covered, a trip to the hospital could be the least of your worries. Health and family insurance are the two most important cover expats will need.


If you’re an Australian resident moving overseas, the rules remain the same when it comes to accessing your super. This means you cannot access the funds until you reach retirement age or have met the conditions for early access. Be sure to roll all super accounts into the one fund. This will save you the headache of trying to keep on top of your super.


Expats that rent out their home while overseas can continue to treat it as their main residence for up to 6 years [Editors Note: Due to legislation passed on 5th Dec 2019, scrapping the main residence exemption for Australian expats, the 6 year rule is no longer available to non-residents. To learn more read more here: Death of the Main Residence Exemption for Australian expats].

This is solely for capital gains tax purposes. If the home is left vacated, you can treat it as your main residence for an unlimited time.

Update – 9th May 2017: Please note that the Australian government handed down it’s 2017 Australian Federal budget today, with proposals to stop non-residents from being able to access the main residence capital gains tax exemption (discussed in our original article below) from 9th May 2017.

Existing properties held by Australian expats and non-residents will continue to be exempt but only until 30 June 2019. After that date, any existing properties held by non-residents (as at 9th May 2017) will become subject to capital gains notwithstanding that the property may continue to be that taxpayer’s main residence. It is expected that this will cause a large number of Australian expats to re-evaluate how long they will continue to live and work overseas in light of these changes.

To learn more about these and other 2017 budget measures proposed, take a look at our recent blog post 2017 Australian Federal Budget – Expats the Clear Losers.

Source: Budget Paper No 2, p 27.

HECS debt

As of July 1st 2017, Australian university graduates living overseas will have to make compulsory re-payments to their HECS debt. If you have a debt, speak to both your employer and accountant about these repayments and how you will be affected.

Expat Taxes understand the stress that comes with trying to organise your move overseas. After all we are expats too. If you would like to know more about tax implications while living overseas, get in touch with us today.

Shane Macfarlane CA
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