Show download pdf controls
  • Residency – the superannuation test

    The superannuation test is the third statutory test. This test covers certain Australian government employees.

    Under the test, you are an Australian resident if you are a contributing member of:

    • the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS), or
    • the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS).

    The test does not apply if you are a member of the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSAP).

    If you are an Australian resident under this test, your spouse and any children under the age of 16 are also Australian residents for income tax purposes.

    'Spouse' includes another person (of any sex) who:

    • you were in a relationship with that was registered under a prescribed state or territory law
    • although not legally married to you, lived with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

    Both the PSS and CSS include permanent employees and some categories of temporary employees in their definition of member or eligible employee.

    These definitions do not include a person who is engaged or appointed for employment outside Australia only. If you are no longer employed by the Public Service, you will fail this test.

    The test was designed to ensure that Australian government employees working at Australian posts abroad (such as diplomats and officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), and their spouses and children under 16 years of age, were treated as Australian residents. However, the test only applies to members of the PSS and CSS, which are now closed to new members.

    Applying the test – examples

    The following examples show how the superannuation test is applied under different scenarios.

    Example of a resident

    Delphi, an officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is posted to Thailand for a period of three years and is a member of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS).

    Delphi will remain an Australian resident under this test.

    End of example

     

    Example of a foreign resident

    Peter, a retired public servant in receipt of a superannuation pension from the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS) – a Commonwealth superannuation fund – moves to South Africa for a period of three years to look after an ailing relative.

    Peter does not satisfy the superannuation test as he is no longer a contributing member.

    End of example

     

    Example of a resident

    John is not an eligible employee in the CSS or PSS schemes. He has been living in Tokyo for ten years. His spouse is a Commonwealth employee and is an eligible employee of the CSS scheme.

    John is an Australian resident under this test.

    End of example

     

    Example of a foreign resident

    Rachael is posted overseas and is a member of the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSAP). Rachael is not an Australian resident under the resides test, the domicile test or the 183 day test.

    The superannuation test does not apply to Rachael as she is not a member of the PSS or CSS.

    End of example

    What to read/do next

    For more general information about residency, read Work out your residency status for tax purposes.

    For information on the other three residency tests, read:

    Other information about residency:

    If you need help applying this information to your own situation, phone us on 13 28 61.

      Last modified: 11 Apr 2018QC 17140