Guide to Repatriating to Australia – For many of us who ventured overseas, there comes a time when the allure of Australia’s pristine beaches, the warmth of family, or the security of a familiar environment beckons us home.
But as you plan this journey back to the land down under, there are crucial financial considerations to keep in mind:
- Australian Tax Residency:
– Tax Residency: The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a tax ruling that helps clarify Australian tax residency. As an Australian tax resident, you’ll be taxed on your worldwide income and assets. For high-income earners, this rate can be as high as 45%. Moreover, you’ll be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) and the 2% Medicare levy.
– CGT Considerations: On becoming an Australian tax resident, assets like foreign currency holdings need to be valued. This value becomes your cost base for assessing capital gains in the future. However, assets such as shares held at the time of departure from Australia, on which you opted not to pay CGT, don’t need revaluation.
– Tax Benefits: Fortunately, there are some benefits, such as the CGT discount for assets held longer than a year and the tax-free threshold for income up to $18,200.
- Housing in Australia:
Considering buying a house in Australia? Keep these factors in mind:
– Costs: As a non-resident, expect additional stamp duty and land tax in most states, an annual vacancy fee if your property remains unoccupied for over six months, stringent bank lending rules, and no CGT discount related to the period of non-resident ownership.
– Strategy: It might be worth waiting until after you return to Australia to avoid the above complications. However, if you find the perfect property, make sure you plan meticulously and consider seeking professional help.
- Superannuation as a Financial Tool:
– Tax Benefits: An account-based superannuation pension is tax-free. Before retirement, you can save on Australian income tax by making contributions to superannuation. Planning ahead can provide shelter in a tax-free environment for when you retire.
– Foreign Retirement Funds: Understand the implications of transferring funds from overseas retirement schemes, especially regarding taxation. Some foreign schemes are recognized by the ATO, allowing a smoother transfer process.
- Insurance and Estate Planning:
After a long period outside Australia, revisit your life insurance and consider if you’re paying for unnecessary coverage in old superannuation accounts. A comprehensive financial plan can be beneficial, especially one that integrates insurances and estate planning.
- Currency Management:
– Currency Strategy: The value of foreign currency can impact your assets upon returning to Australia. It’s essential to have a well-thought-out currency strategy to prevent unfavorable shifts.
– Taxation on Currency: Increases in foreign currency value are taxable for Australian residents. Currency holdings should be valued upon becoming a tax resident. Gains realized thereafter are considered foreign currency gains for Australian taxation purposes.
– Hedging Strategies: To safeguard against unfavorable currency fluctuations, consider building a portfolio of AUD assets or using forward currency contracts with banks or brokers. Being proactive and informed can help in making well-timed decisions.
Repatriating to Australia isn’t just about relishing the comforts of home; it’s about ensuring you’re financially prepared for this transition.
Plan meticulously, consider professional advice, and make your return smooth and financially beneficial.