Can Australian Expats get Early Access To Super Due to Covid-19? – with the prospect of many Australians possibly losing their job as a result of the Covid-19 virus the Australian government has announced new rules allowing early access to superannuation.

One of the most popular questions on the internet and social media at the moment is can Australian expats gain early access to their super under the new rules?

Under the rules eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months (exact timing will depend on the passage of the relevant legislation).

So is an Australian expat a eligible individual?

 

Eligibility

 

The long and short of it is there is nothing in the rules and legislation precluding Australian expats from gaining early access to their superannuation as long as they can substantiate their claim. You must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • you are unemployed; or
  • you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for job seekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020:
      • you were made redundant; or
      • your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or
      • if you are a sole trader — your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

 

Summary

 

We have seen a large number of Australian expats on social media boasting and claiming to have been eligible and received the early access however we need to highlight two key points:

  • It is imperative that you are able to prove that you are eligible to gain early access to your superannuation. With the introduction of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) the ATO will be able to see and already knows what you earn and is deposited into your account. If you claim to have been made unemployed, redundant or your hours were reduced, yet your full salary continues to be paid into your account, then you may and will have issues once the dust settles and the ATO reviews all applications.
  • The ATO will be reviewing applications (not just now, but later on as well). Should they find an application which was processed until false pretenses then not only will you have to repay the funds but you will also be subject to a AUD$12,000 fine.

As you can see above the criteria outlined primarily relates to those who would be considered Australian residents for tax purposes and Australian expats would find it very difficult to quality under the eligibility criteria and gain early access to their super unless they have genuinely experienced financial hardship.

Should we hear any different we will certainly let all Australian expats know.

 

 

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