expats returning to australia

Expats returning to Australia? Here’s what you need to know

Expat life offers a wealth of opportunities and experiences, but there comes a time when some of us wish to return to our homeland. Moving back home isn’t as straightforward as you may believe, so read on for some top tips on expats returning to Australia.

Top tips for expats returning to Australia

1. Transferring your retirement funds and savings

If you’ve been living and working overseas for a while now, there is a chance you have built up some retirement savings in a fund equivalent to Australia’s superannuation system. However, due to the different regulations and costs, you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s actually worth amalgamating these funds with your superannuation account. Another key consideration to bear in mind is the time frame – if you transfer your overseas pension to an Australian super, and this transfer occurs in the first six months of you becoming an Australian resident again, you won’t have to pay tax on your transferred super benefits.

2. Moving your assets

As well as your pension, you’ll need to consider which bank accounts you should keep and which ones you should close, so make sure you do your research to ensure you’re utilising the most cost-effective strategy when transferring your assets. If you’re wanting to transfer cash back to Australia, take a look at a dedicated foreign exchange service such as TransferWise rather than a bank, as your bank will generally charge large, hidden fees (in the form of unattractive foreign exchange rates) for moving your funds.

3. Re-instating your private health insurance

If you decided to suspend your health insurance when you moved away, you will need to reinstate it when you arrive back in Australia. Normally you’ll have between 30 and 60 days, but it’s best to contact your private provider directly to confirm this.

4. Seek advice ahead of time

Before you move back to Australia, it’s vital you seek advice at least six months before your relocation. Proper preparation gives you plenty of time to sell any assets you have acquired overseas and gives you the chance to have any assets valued if you intend to keep them. Remember, from the first day you return to Australia, any gains/growth will be taken into account for tax purposes so it’s generally recommended that you seek advice, well in advance of returning home.

For more expatriate tax advice for Australian expats,

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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, tax-planning and structuring, particularly as it relates to Australian expats who are often subject to high rates of tax back home in Australia.
Shane Macfarlane
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