When you are living and working overseas as an Australian expat, there are many circumstances under which you may want to send money home to Australia. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Make sure your money is secure
This is by far the most important aspect. Not all the companies that offer to transfer your money back to Australia are honest and some of them aren’t even real.
Before you choose a company to move your money internationally make sure they:
- Have an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL)
- Are registered with Austrac (Australia’s financial intelligence agency)
- Are a member of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
Find the best exchange rate
Begin by looking up the base exchange rate between the nation where your money is and the Australian dollar. The best tool for doing this is XE (www.xe.com), which offers the latest base exchange rates between every possible combination of currencies.
Once you are armed with that information, shop around. There are a large number of currency exchange businesses and they all offer different rates. When you find the one that is closest to the base exchange rate it is likely to be the best deal, but don’t rush to click send because…
Make sure you are not getting ripped off
The currency exchange businesses make a profit every time we send money from one country to another. Before you commit to using a company, it is important that you understand what fees and charges they are going to subtract from your money. The one that is offering the best exchange rate is not always the best deal.
What about tax issues?
Now we are into complicated territory, more than can be discussed in this short blog. But suffice to say that you won’t be taxed on the transfer of money itself, however the underlying income that led to the generation of those savings may be taxed. Note the word “may” though, because whether that income will be taxed by the Australian government will depend on two factors:
- the source of that income (i.e. where that income was earned), and
- Your residency status for Australian tax purposes.
Whilst the topic of residency is a whole other topic, worthy of a blog post or more itself, rest assured that if you’re an expat that qualifies as a non-resident for Australian tax purposes, your underlying income will only be taxed by Australia if it has an Australian source. Now those rules can be quite confusing so if you’ve got any questions about this, drop us a line as we’re always happy to help.
Just tell us what you would like to do and we will tell you the best way to reduce any tax you might be required to pay. We also specialise in Australian tax returns for Aussie expats so why not contact us today?