Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Find answers to commonly asked questions
about Worldwide Advisory.

To be considered an Australian Resident for Tax purposes in Australia, you must pass one of the four statutory tests. 

  1. Resides test 
  2. Domicile test
  3. 183-day test
  4. The Commonwealth super test

The first two tests are the most common yet confusing. The 183-day rule is used mainly for inbound residents and the Commonwealth Super test relates to Australian government employees working at Australian posts abroad.

If you need help assessing your tax residency, please check out our Residency Research Tool or contact us.

If you are deemed to be an Australian tax resident, you are obligated to file an Australian tax return and report all worldwide income. If you are a non-resident, you need to report only income derived in Australia (i.e. Australian Rental income, Interest on Australian bank accounts, capital gains on sales of Australian stocks purchased as a resident, etc).

Residency is independently determined from citizenship or VISA rights. Determining residency is crucial in assessing where and how much tax you are obligated to pay under the Australian tax regime. If incorrectly assessed, you could be liable for thousands in tax and possibly even interest and penalties on any amounts accrued to the ATO. If you’re an Australian tax resident, you are obligated to file a tax return reporting all worldwide income. If dealt with correctly, you can avoid double taxation.

A foreign resident for tax is when you are no longer an Australian tax resident. This may occur if you have effectively cut ties to Australia and have moved abroad. If you need help assessing your tax residency, please check out our Residency Research Tool or contact us.

An Australian tax return can be lodged through the myGov ATO portal or through a registered Australian tax agent (like us!). Please be aware if you are lodging a return yourself, the deadline is 31 October of that tax year. Should you lodge it with a tax agent, that deadline is extended to May the following year.

When choosing an Australian Tax Agent, ensure they are registered with the Australian Tax Practitioners Board. To see our registration, please click here

Australia has several double tax agreements with various countries. By determining your residency, you can ensure you are paying tax in the right country without being taxed twice.

Residency needs to be determined at each change of habitual lifestyle – for example, if you change countries, VISA rights, purchase different assets/investments. With each change, you should proactively assess whether you remain a resident or non-resident. Your intention is equally important – if you now intend to stay as an expat for the long term – your residency may change.

If you have a HELP/HECS or trade debt loan, you have to file an Australian tax return each year attaching an overseas earnings schedule, disclosing your worldwide income, converted to AUD. Then the ATO will assess you just for a HELP Levy repayment. This also applies if you are earning below the HELP/HECS debt threshold.

Yes, the ATO have several data matching facilities at their disposal to determine where and how much you earned while abroad. They also have agreements with various countries to allow data sharing. The recent Common Reporting Standard initiative streamlines the ability for the ATO to gather relevant information from local and foreign banks. This is another international strategy aiming at combatting tax avoidance.

Residency is determined from the date your circumstances change. If you are truly determined to be a non-resident from November, you will still need to file a tax return for that financial year declaring the income you earned from July – October and the date you ceased residency. You may be eligible for a part year tax free threshold and part year Medicare levy exemption.

The Medicare levy is a 2% charge on your taxable income used to help fund some of the costs of Australia’s public health system, i.e. Medicare.

The Medicare levy surcharge is levied on certain Australian taxpayers who are above certain income thresholds ($90k for singles and $180k for families) and do not have appropriate levels of private patient hospital cover.

If you are have ceased your Australian tax residency and are considered a foreign resident for tax purposes, you may be eligible for a Medicare levy and Medicare surcharge exemption. See this ATO article for more information on this.

If you are a non-resident and have either a HECS/HELP debt or have at least $1 of Australian sourced income, you are still obligated to file an Australian tax return. If you have none, it is still good practice to inform the ATO via MyGov or your tax agent that you’re not required to lodge. Otherwise they will still expect a return.

This must be done through a Medicare levy exemption form through Services Australia and can be found here. This Medicare Entitlement Statement informs the ATO the period during a financial year that you weren’t eligible for Medicare. You must claim this your Australian income tax return.

The business activity statement (BAS) is a form submitted to the ATO by registered business entities to report their tax obligations, including GST, pay as you go withholding (PAYGW), pay as you go instalments (PAYGI) and others. BAS due dates can be found here. 

We found this nifty Tax Calculator for Australia from which we wanted to share. This spreadsheet allows you to confirm the tax, offsets and Medicare charges you would pay as an individual in Australia. Its extremely useful for tax planning for your business and determining the best structure.