Contrary to popular belief, different nations’ governments do work together. Offshore tax havens and tax evasions are being broken down and prevented by governments binding together and creating tax information exchange agreements. For an Australian expat who is completing Australian tax returns or expat tax returns, it is vital that they understand tax information exchange agreements.
So, what are they?
A tax information exchange agreement is established between two countries that mutually agree to share tax information. To receive the information, generally, one country will need to request it from the other and an explanation is required as to the purpose. If the requesting country follows the specific guidelines in their request that were mutually agreed upon, they are able to request the tax information of virtually anyone. This can be an issue for expats for multiple reasons.
The Australian Taxation Office claims to use the taxation information exchange agreements to not only improve the standards and transparency of Australian or expat tax returns but to also provide a deterrent for those living offshore and trying to evade tax. Many expats believe they are accountable only to the laws of the country that they are residing in and don’t need to declare their income for tax purposes to the Australian Taxation Office, but in most circumstances, this is not the case at all.
Tax information exchange agreements are growing substantially on a global scale and the benefits to the countries that have requested the information (to catch expats or those dealing with offshore money) have been notable. Over 100 nations, including Australia, have committed to an automatic exchange system of tax information, and that number is on the rise.
While no one should ever evade tax, or not declare their correct revenue or income, Australian expats and expats living in Australia need to always be conscious of their residential country and own country’s tax laws. Abiding by one usually affects the other, and different governing tax departments talk to each other and can request the information. Research and advice always need to be sought out prior to filing a tax return to deter any future financial issues.
If you have any questions about filling out your expat Australian tax return, contact us today.