Returning To Australia

Aussie expat coming home

After enjoying the expatriate lifestyle and it comes time to return to Australia, there are a number of financial considerations that need to be addressed well before you pack your bags and get on the plane.

Below are some, but not all of the topics that should be covered with a financial adviser before you return:

  • Overseas Tax – when you have been living and working overseas you would have paid tax if you are in a jurisdiction where it is charged (the exception being places like Dubai). It is important that you notify the local tax department of your intention to leave permanently and to pay any outstanding tax that is owing.
  • Transferring Assets – when it comes time to move, you will need to arrange for the transfer of cash back to Australia. There are a number of different options available to you including using a local/international bank or a dedicated foreign exchange service. The rates provided by the banks tend to be less favourable however if if often a lot easier to arrange. The foreign exchange services often provide better rates but there is more work required. All depending on how much you are transferring will determine whether it is worth the extra effort. Atlas Wealth Management can provide assistance to arrange this for you.
  • Retirement savings/Superannuation – if you have been working overseas for some time there is a chance you may have accumulated some retirement savings in a product equivalent to the superannuation system that is in Australia. Due to the different rules and regulations, as well as costs, it may or may not be beneficial to transfer this to Australia and amalgamate it with your existing superannuation account. It is crucial you meet with an adviser to discuss the options available to you to ensure you make the right decision.
  • Overseas Investments – whilst overseas you may have accumulated a number of investments which could include listed shares and properties. When deciding whether to keep the investments or not you have to take into account your investment objectives, ability to maintain and service the investment, and outside influences which could turn your retirement nest egg  into a poor performing asset. Some of these influences could include currency changes, local economic stability and Australian Taxation Office’s classification of that investment. As an example if you were working in a non tax environment then the investment may have been generating an appealing return but once you return to Australia and start paying tax on it you may find that it isn’t generating a sufficient after tax return on investment to warrant the risk.
  • Non-Resident Tax Status – whilst you are an expat, you are able to modify your Australian domiciled investment portfolio in a way that Australian residents can’t by taking advantage of your non-resident status. Once you return to Australia you aren’t able to do this and a good opportunity maybe lost.