ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Australians living overseas

Work out your tax and super obligations before leaving Australia to live overseas.

Last updated 26 June 2023

Australian resident going overseas

You'll need to still lodge an Australian tax return if you remain an Australian resident. If you're unsure of your tax situation, see Your tax residency.

If you work while living overseas, you must declare:

  • all your foreign employment income
  • any exempt income even if tax was withheld in the country where you earned it.

If you have a myGov account linked to the ATO, you can access your account from overseas to:

  • prepare and lodge your tax return
  • manage and check your super
  • manage your contact details and other tax obligations.

To find out more about ATO online services, see Using ATO online services.

If you can't sign in to your myGov, see When you can't sign in to your myGov account.

Study and training support loans

You'll have the same obligations to repay study and training support loans as people who live in Australia.

If you have one of the following study and training loans:

  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP – formerly known as HECS)
  • VET Student Loan (VSL)
  • Trade Support Loan (TSL)

You'll need to repay your debt if you’ve moved overseas and intend to live there for 6 months or more in any 12 month period.

Before leaving Australia or within seven days of leaving, you'ill need to:

You'll also need to advise us of your worldwide income, make compulsory repayments or pay an overseas levy towards your debt if you earn over the minimum repayment threshold.

If you have a Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS), Student Start-up Loan (SSL) or ABSTUDY Student Start-up Loan (ABSTUDY SSL) debt and go overseas, we will continue to maintain your loan account. Your debt won't be waived and the amount outstanding will continue to be indexed each year until you've paid off your debt.

You can still make voluntary repayments when you're overseas.

Capital gains on your assets

If you leave your home in Australia temporarily and rent it out, you can continue to treat it as your main residence for up to six years for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes. If you don’t rent out your vacated home, you can treat it as your main residence for an unlimited period.

If you cease to be an Australian resident and decide to sell your home in Australia you may be liable to pay CGT.

If you cease to be an Australian resident while overseas, we deem some of your assets – generally those not considered taxable Australian property – to have been disposed of for CGT purposes. This may mean you become liable to pay CGT.

You can choose not to have this deemed disposal apply. But if you do eventually dispose of the asset, we consider the whole period of ownership – including any period when you're not an Australian resident – when we calculate a capital gain or loss for CGT purposes.

Rules for foreign residents

From 9 May 2017, foreign residents for tax purposes will no longer be able to claim the CGT main residence exemption when they sell property in Australia unless certain circumstances apply.

If you already held the property on 9 May 2017, you will be able to claim the CGT main residence exemption, if the CGT event (disposal) of the property occurs on or before 30 June 2020.

For property acquired at or after 9 May 2017, you will no longer be able to claim the CGT main residence exemption from that date unless certain life events occur within a continuous period of six years of you becoming a foreign resident for tax purposes.

For more information about residency and CGT, see Changing residency.

For more information about foreign residents and CGT, see Foreign residents and capital gains.

Medicare levy surcharge and private health insurance

The Medicare levy surcharge applies to Australian residents who have income above the surcharge thresholds and don't have an appropriate level of private patient hospital cover.

If you cancel your private health insurance while living overseas, you may be liable for the Medicare levy surcharge if your income exceeds the relevant threshold.

You should contact your health fund to work out the amount of premium you expect to save by cancelling or suspending your cover. Compare it to the surcharge you may have to pay.

For more information, see Medicare and private health insurance.

Family cover

To avoid paying the Medicare levy surcharge, you and all your family dependants must have private patient hospital cover. Cancelling or suspending cover for yourself will mean you and your spouse may each still be liable for the surcharge if your combined income for the purposes of the surcharge exceeds the family surcharge threshold.

Travel health insurance

Travel insurance is not private patient hospital cover for the purposes of the Medicare levy surcharge. Private patient hospital cover does not include cover provided by an overseas fund.

Exempt foreign employment income and the Medicare levy surcharge

If you have exempt foreign employment income, we still take it into account when working out your income for the Medicare levy surcharge.

Example: exempt foreign employment income and the Medicare levy surcharge

John is single and an Australian resident. In 2021-22, he has:

  • no private patient hospital cover
  • exempt foreign employment income of $75,000
  • taxable income of $20,000.

John's income, for the purposes of the Medicare levy surcharge, is $95,000. As this falls in the income range of $90,001–$105,000 for a single person, he is liable for the Medicare levy surcharge of 1.0%.

The surcharge is 1% of $20,000 (his taxable income), which equals $200.

End of example

Your super

If you're an Australian citizen or permanent resident leaving Australia temporarily or permanently, your superannuation remains subject to the same rules. This means you can't access your super until you reach preservation age and retire or satisfy another condition of release.

Check your super regularly and combine any accounts you no longer need through myGovExternal Link. Combining multiple super accounts means you don't have to pay multiple sets of fees and charges.

If you have a small super account that you want to keep with your super fund, contact your super fund and tell them. This will prevent it from being transferred to us as unclaimed super.

If you're planning on moving either permanently or indefinitely to New Zealand, you can leave your super in Australia or transfer it to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme from a participating Australian super fund.

For more information see:

Self-managed super

If you're a trustee of a self-managed super fund and intend to travel overseas for an extended period, check before you leave that your fund will continue to meet the definition of an Australian super fund.