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  • Foreign employment income – superannuation

    If your foreign employment income is not exempt from tax in Australia, it may affect your super guarantee, super co-contributions or tax deductions for personal super contributions.

    Your super guarantee

    Although your foreign employment income is not exempt from tax, it does not affect your entitlement to the super guarantee. The super guarantee is not linked to your assessable income. If you are an employee and get salary or wages, you will generally be entitled to super guarantee. An exception to this is if your employer is a foreign resident and you are working outside Australia.

    If your employer is not an Australian resident, they are not required to provide super guarantee for you when you are working outside Australia. If you also work within Australia for this employer, they should be providing the super guarantee for you for this period.

    If your employer is an Australian resident then generally the law requires them to provide super guarantee for you, for your period of service both inside and outside Australia.

    If you have questions about your super guarantee, speak to your employer.

    See also:

    Your super co-contributions

    If your foreign employment income is not exempt from tax, you include it in your assessable income. We will take it into account when we work out your entitlement to a co-contribution.

    If your foreign employment income is exempt, it is excluded from your assessable income. We do not take it into account when we work out your entitlement to a co-contribution.

    To be entitled to a super co-contribution you must have made a personal contribution into a complying fund and meet certain income tests.

    See also:

    Your deductions for personal super contributions

    If your foreign income is not exempt from tax, you need to include any super contributions you made before 1 July 2017 in your assessable income. This is taken into account in working out your entitlement to deductions for super contributions.

    Your entitlement to deductions for super contributions made before 1 July 2017 is based on the combined amount of your:

    • assessable income
    • reportable fringe benefits
    • reportable employer super contributions.

    For personal super contributions made before 1 July 2017, you are not entitled to claim a tax deduction if you earn 10% or more of the above as an employee. This includes activities in which you are treated as an employee for the purpose of the Superannuation Guarantee Administration Act 1992 (SGAA) for the income year.

    Generally you will be an employee for the purposes of the SGAA if you either:

    • receive a payment in the form of salary or wages in return for your labour or services
    • are engaged under a contract that is wholly or principally for your labour.

    You may be entitled to claim a deduction for your personal super contributions made before 1 July 2017 if your employer is an Australian resident, and your foreign employment income is either:

    • exempt (you still need to meet the eligibility requirements)
    • not exempt but (together with reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions) is below 10% of your total assessable income, reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions for that income year (you also need to meet the eligibility requirements)
    • your entitlement to claiming a deduction for personal super contributions will depend upon if you get employment-related income from other employers during the income year.

    For personal super contributions made on or after 1 July 2017, the 10% income test is removed. Your foreign employment income is not taken into account in working out your entitlement to a deduction for personal super contributions, however you still need to meet the other eligibility requirements.

    See also:

      Last modified: 06 Feb 2017QC 23115