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  • Certificates of residency

    Tax treaties are special treaties Australia has entered into with over 40 countries. They prevent double taxation and fiscal evasion and foster cooperation between Australia and other international tax authorities in enforcing their respective tax laws.

    As part of some of the agreements, if a person or entity is certified as an Australian resident for income tax purposes and receives income from these countries, they can request the tax authorities of these countries to reduce their withholding tax or to exempt them from paying tax in these countries. They can do this by supplying a tax relief form or a certificate of residency. However, it is important to note that overseas tax authorities may have additional administrative requirements for Australian residency certificate holders that impact on their tax obligations in the foreign jurisdictions.

    Individuals or entities that use custodians to act on their behalf have to provide written authorisation to support the custodian's authority. The documentation must also provide the capacity in which the custodian is authorised to act in.

    Check with your custodian to confirm if they have a valid authorisation with us to act on your behalf.

    On this page:

    Countries with a tax treaty with Australia

    The full list of our tax treaties is maintained by Treasury and can be found at Australian tax treatiesExternal Link.

    There is also an agreement between the Australian and Timor-Leste governments in respect of the exploration for, or the exploitation of, petroleum in the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA).

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    Certificates of residency

    A certificate of residency is a document supplied by us. It's issued to Australian residents to prove to foreign tax authorities that you are an Australian resident for income tax purposes.

    Requesting a certificate of residency or status

    A resident can request a certificate of residency or status by sending us a letter or fax and including the following information:

    • full name of the Australian resident
    • residential address of the Australian resident and postal address if different
    • date of birth (individuals only)
    • tax file number (TFN) or Australian business number (ABN) (or both)
    • country the certificate is for
    • a statement whether the Australian resident is only a tax resident of Australia or whether the Australian resident is also dual resident under the relevant tax treaty
    • period the certificate is required for – the certificate period can't be greater than a year from the date of issue
    • number of certificates required
    • signature and date.

    Tax professionals will need to establish proof of identity (POI) when contacting us.

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    Information required for a certificate of residency

    The certificate will be issued or the tax relief form will be certified only when all the following requirements are met:

    • the name and TFN or ABN supplied in the request matches our records
    • lodgment of Australian tax returns are up to date
    • the individual or entity is known to us as a permanent resident for income tax purposes.

    If you are a tax resident of a treaty country as well as Australia (a dual tax resident) please consider the information and procedures below before requesting a certificate or tax relief form.

    Dual tax residents in tax treaty countries

    You can be a tax resident of more than one country at the same time.

    When you have dual tax residency, the relevant double tax agreement may determine your country of residence for tax purposes and which country has taxing rights over certain classes of income to prevent double taxation. In some cases, this may have the effect of limiting Australia's taxing rights. The tax liability of a person who is a tax resident of two treaty countries is shaped by application of the ‘tie breaker’ provision in the treaty. For example, Article 4.2 of the Australia/New Zealand tax treaty. The need to apply a ‘tie breaker’ provision means it is a more complex task to establish such a person's tax residency status.

    Citizenship or nationality of another country will not necessarily mean you are a tax resident under their laws.

    Dual tax residents – natural persons

    If you consider that you are a tax resident of a treaty county, you should lodge an Early engagement advice request. This will assist us in making a determination about your residency status under the relevant double tax agreement.

    Dual tax residents - companies – New Zealand

    Companies that are tax resident in both Australia and New Zealand may be eligible for the administrative approach agreed between the ATO and the New Zealand Inland Revenue.

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    Dual tax residents – non individuals – treaties amended by the multilateral instrument

    Specific procedures are in place for dual tax resident non-individuals who are resident in countries where the relevant tax treaty has been amended by the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, also known as the Multilateral Instrument.

    Non-individual taxpayers that are dual residents under Australia’s tax treaties which are modified by Article 4(1) of the MLI will need to apply to either Competent Authority for a determination of their residency for the purposes of the relevant treaty.

    If you are a company resident in New Zealand, see the Australia and New Zealand administrative approach.

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    Dual tax resident – non individuals – treaties not affected by the Multilateral Instrument

    Dual tax resident companies, which are tax resident in Australia and one of the unaffected treaty countries, should consider lodging an application for a private ruling on your tax residency status under the relevant tax treaty. Once this has been ruled on we can consider a certificate of residency for you.

    Lodging a request for a certificate of residency

    To lodge a request for a certificate of residency:

    • complete the Certificate of residency coversheet (PDF, 572KB)This link will download a file fillable PDF on screen before printing – if you can't open this coversheet, write 'certificate of residency' and your TFN or ABN on a sheet of paper to use as a coversheet. A maximum of 20 TFNs or ABNs can be included on the coversheet.
    • only list a TFN or ABN once on the request form even if the request requires certificates for multiple jurisdictions place the coversheet on top of your request and either    
      • fax your request to 1300 730 298
      • submit your request through Online services for agents or the Business Portal
      • mail your request to
       

    Australian Taxation Office
    PO Box 3006
    PENRITH NSW  2740.

    How long it will take

    We aim to process your request within 28 days of receiving all the necessary information. If your request is incomplete or incorrect, it may take longer.

    Tax relief forms

    Tax relief forms are forms supplied by overseas authorities to residents of Australia whose overseas sourced income is subject to overseas tax. The forms are to be completed by the Australian resident and certified by us to confirm residency status.

    These forms will only be certified if there is a comprehensive tax treaty with Australia. If an agreement is not in place, we will supply a certificate of residency.

    How to lodge a tax relief form

    To lodge a tax relief form:

    Australian Taxation Office
    PO Box 9977
    PARRAMATTA NSW 2124.

    Nominating a custodian for non-individual entities

    If you are the primary contact of a non-individual entity, you can nominate a custodian to:

    • request a certificate of residency or status on the entity’s behalf
    • lodge a tax relief form on the entity’s behalf.

    To nominate a custodian:

    Australian Taxation Office
    PO Box 3006
    PENRITH NSW 2740

    • alternatively, fax the completed nomination form to us on 1300 730 298.

    If the nominated custodian is no longer required to act on behalf of the entity, contact us by phone on 13 28 66.

    More information

    For more information on tax relief forms or on certificates of residency phone us on 13 28 61 (for individuals) or 13 28 66 (other than individuals).

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      Last modified: 17 Mar 2020QC 17506