Calling All Australians Abroad ... Don't forget your tax!
Many Australians have job and lifestyle opportunities that come to them, that they jump on and find they are sailing across the skies to another country to live and work. There are many things to plan, furniture to store, important papers to bring, pets to explain the move to, farewell parties to hold and passports to organise.
Oh, and then there are tax issues, which often are not at the top of anyone's agenda.
Not planning may mean you lose your Australian tax residency at a time that does not suit you, or it may mean you don't do enough to cease your residency if that is what you intend. These changes may have significant ramifications for you, your assets, the reporting (or non-reporting) of your income, and critical considerations about lodging a 'final' income tax return in Australia. Not addressing tax matters, may mean you miss opportunities or 'elections' you may wish to consider, or lock you into costly tax outcomes.
Whilst we encourage our clients to obtain tax advice and support before they step on that plane, we often find we can help Australians who have already left, who are looking to sort out their tax affairs after they have hit the foreign tarmac and started a new life overseas.
Some people continue to lodge income tax returns using myTax, and almost invariably get it wrong. They report themselves as residents when they are actually non-residents, or report they are residents but forget to report their foreign income, or report they are non-residents when they are actually residents. Some even lodge as non-residents and try to report foreign income.
We have seen quite a lot of errors!
It is invariably harder, more time consuming and costly to fix these errors after the event, so you should get professional support before you embark on your journey. Lodging tax returns with errors only increases the chance that the ATO are going to target you for a review or audit.
So if you are an Australian working hard and enjoying life overseas, and you want to make sure your Australian tax affairs are properly taken care of and you have properly addressed and explored the tax opportunities and optimisation that may be available to you, get in touch with our office today. We have a lot of experience supporting expats, tax planning and risk management, dealing with residency changes and supporting them with ATO enquiries, so let us know what your situation is and we will help you too.