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  • Super for employees working overseas – certificate of coverage

    Employers must pay super guarantee (SG) contributions for Australian employees working temporarily overseas. You can apply to us for a certificate of coverage, so you don't have to pay super in the other country as well.

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    How it works

    Australia has bilateral social security agreements with some countries, allowing you to apply for a certificate of coverage. With this certificate, you don't have to pay super (or equivalent) in the other country.

    Australian employers

    It exempts Australian employers from their super obligations in the country where their employee is temporarily working. Australian employers must continue to pay SG contributions in Australia.

    Non-Australian employers

    The certificate exempts non-Australian employers from paying super in Australia. We may ask to see a copy of the certificate. Without it, non-Australian employers must pay super in Australia (unless they meet an exemption).

    Example: Australian employee working in the United States

    Simone is an Australian resident working for one year in the United States (US). Under US law, Simone and her Australian employer must pay compulsory social security (covering super) contributions.

    Simone's employer must also pay SG contributions for her in Australia.

    The bilateral agreement between Australia and the US means that Simone's employer doesn't need to pay US social security contributions.

    To receive the US exemption, Simone's employer must request a certificate of coverage from the ATO.

    Her employer must continue to pay SG contributions in Australia.

    End of example

     

    Example: United States employee working in Australia

    Mac is a US resident working temporarily in Australia. A certificate of coverage issued by the US allows his employer to pay contributions solely under the US system.

    With the certificate, Mac's employer is exempt from paying super under Australia's SG law.

    End of example

    Employer responsibilities

    By applying for a certificate of coverage for your employee, you're declaring that you will:

    • continue to make the required Australian SG contributions on behalf of your employee. These contributions must be made while your employee is working overseas
    • keep records of the super paid on behalf of your employee.

    We share information about certificates of coverage with authorities in the country your employee is working in.

    If you fail to meet the above requirements, we will cancel the certificate and notify the relevant foreign authorities. A cancellation means that you or your employee will not be exempt from the super (or equivalent) obligations in the other country. This cancellation will apply for the period of the certificate. If you fail to pay super in Australia, you are liable to pay the SG charge to the ATO.

    Self-managed super funds

    If you pay SG contributions to your employee's self-managed super fund (SMSF), you should ask your employee to check their SMSF management arrangements before they leave Australia.

    Employees travelling overseas need to check their SMSF maintains its complying Australian super fund status. If the SMSF is no longer a complying fund, you must pay SG contributions for your employee to another fund the employee has nominated as their chosen fund. If the employee has not chosen another fund use your default fund.

    Apply for a certificate of coverage

    Before you apply for a certificate of coverage, check the countries Australia has a bilateral social security agreement with.

    Apply for the certificate of coverage before your employee leaves Australia.

    We'll generally assess your application within 28 days. If your application is approved, a certificate of coverage will be issued to the nominated postal address within your application.

    Australian business address

    For employers:

    1. Sign in to Online services for business.
    2. Select Lodgments.
    3. Select Reports and forms.
    4. Select Certificate of coverage request form.

    Forms can be saved and resumed within 7 days. After this period, the form will no longer be available.

    For tax professionals:

    1. Sign in to Online services for agentsExternal Link.
    2. Select Lodgment.
    3. Select Client forms.
    4. Select Certificate of coverage request form.

    Keep a record of this certificate as government authorities in the other country may require a copy. Give the original certificate to your employee to take with them overseas.

    Amend an application

    You can lodge an amendment to a submitted application providing it meets the specific terms of the agreement with the partner country.

    For employers:

    1. Sign in to the Online services for business.
    2. Select Lodgments.
    3. Select Reports and forms.
    4. Select Certificate of coverage request form.
    5. Select History.
    6. Select Submitted forms.
    7. Select Edit next to the form you want to amend.

    For agents:

    1. Sign in to Online services for agentsExternal Link.
    2. Select Lodgments.
    3. Select Client forms.
    4. Select Certificate of coverage request form.
    5. Under History select Edit.

    Request an extension

    You can request an extension beyond the maximum period of coverage (see the rules of each international agreementExternal Link).

    The maximum extension period is determined on a case-by-case basis. We only grant extensions when there is mutual agreement with the relevant agency in the other country.

    To request an extension, you need to:

    • Write to us explaining the reasons for the extension. Attach an official signed copy on your company letterhead.
    • Attach the written request to the online form under the documentation tab
    • Provide supporting documents giving reasons for the extension and include:
      • employee name
      • your previous certificate of coverage reference number
      • extended secondment date (dd/mm/yy).

    A recent transfer of data has increased the number of processed requests under the View previous request tab. We've made every effort to migrate all previous requests. However, this is not possible in all instances.

    End of example

    Cancel certificate or application

    If you've applied for or received a certificate of coverage and the employee is no longer required to travel, you must provide the details of cancellation. You can do this by contacting us:

    Help and support

    Last modified: 26 May 2021QC 33735