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Moving money to Australia

Moving money to Australia

Old Mar 23rd 2023, 7:45 pm
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Default Moving money to Australia

Since the GBP has been so weak for so long, I have a UK pension paid into my UK bank account and I am leaving it there until the Pound gets its act together. At some stage though I'm going to want to transfer a wad of cash to Australia. I have always imagined that the ATO would notice and tax it.

I have asked a few tax professionals and have always received wishy washy answers. So, yesterday, I went straight to the horses mouth and phoned the ATO! Here is the official answer:

If you move a lump sum of any size on a one-off basis from the UK to Australia there are no tax implications whatsoever and the ATO will not try to take a piece of it. However... If you move smaller amounts on a regular basis it may come to notice as a possible foreign income which will the ATO might ask questions about.

I'm glad I called now - it's only been worrying me for ten years!
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Old Mar 23rd 2023, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Unless a pension is a "government pension" (civil service, military, etc., for which different rules often apply), it is likely that you should have been paying tax on the income in Australia irrespective of where the bank account is located that the pension income is credited to.

It is quite routine for pension administrators, whether company pensions or private pensions, to be notified that the payee is resident outside the UK and pay the pension gross, so the payee can pay the required taxes where they live. Again, that is irrespective of whether the pension payments are credited in the UK, in the country where the payee lives, or potentially a third country.
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Old Mar 24th 2023, 12:26 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

This is useful info, thanks.
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Old Mar 24th 2023, 2:11 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Thanks Pulaski, thankfully mine's a civil service one and is not taxable according to the ATO
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Old Mar 24th 2023, 2:15 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by SoCalDon
Thanks Pulaski, thankfully mine's a civil service one and is not taxable according to the ATO
I'm glad to hear that. .... But I am also glad I pointed out the matter of paying taxes in the right jurisdiction for anyone else reading this thread.
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Old Mar 27th 2023, 12:08 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

I moved a fair bit of money over the past few years through inheritance. Never been taxed on any of it as inheritances aren't taxable here. I do keep an eye on things as you are meant to declare overseas earnings as part of your tax return, and I'll start getting my RAF pension in a couple of years, so need to keep these things in mind.

As for the exchange rate, it is pretty much on the 10 and 5 year averages at the moment, and above the shorter term averages. I moved a chunk last week at $1.83 to the GBP and that has taken nearly a year to get to that point. In the meantime the money could have been in my savings here earning interest, but hey ho, swings and roundabouts. Suggest using the XE app which is real time and has charts showing the movements over a period of time. I also use them to carry out the transfer. Last weeks transfer was done in 24 hours with no problems.
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Old Mar 28th 2023, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer
Suggest using the XE app which is real time and has charts showing the movements over a period of time. I also use them to carry out the transfer. Last weeks transfer was done in 24 hours with no problems.
Thank you Tom. I just downloaded XE and it looks good. I appreciate your recommendation.
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Old May 27th 2023, 1:28 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by SoCalDon
Thanks Pulaski, thankfully mine's a civil service one and is not taxable according to the ATO
Really? You don’t have to pay tax on a Civil service pension?
I pay tax to the ATO on my UK local government pension but not to HMRC (after filling in a few forms to stop tax being deducted at source)
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Old May 31st 2023, 5:47 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by rammygirl
Really? You don’t have to pay tax on a Civil service pension?
I pay tax to the ATO on my UK local government pension but not to HMRC (after filling in a few forms to stop tax being deducted at source)
I was wondering the same. Why would a UK civil servant be any different to anyone else who has a UK pension in regard to the ATO. The ATO want money and it would seem very unlike the ATO if they discriminated against someone who was never a Civil Servant in another country.
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Old May 31st 2023, 5:52 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by SoCalDon

If you move a lump sum of any size on a one-off basis from the UK to Australia there are no tax implications whatsoever and the ATO will not try to take a piece of it. However... If you move smaller amounts on a regular basis it may come to notice as a possible foreign income which will the ATO might ask questions about.

I'm glad I called now - it's only been worrying me for ten years!
Ha. I have never been able to find the right answer either without calling. Out of interest, did they point you to some official wording on this stance?
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Old May 31st 2023, 5:26 pm
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by Beoz
I was wondering the same. Why would a UK civil servant be any different to anyone else who has a UK pension in regard to the ATO. The ATO want money and it would seem very unlike the ATO if they discriminated against someone who was never a Civil Servant in another country.
It's not "discrimination", it's a matter of what the tax treaty says, and it's not that someone would be excused paying tax, it's just a question of where the tax is paid. The flip side to the ATO "losing out" on a British Civil Service pension taxed in the UK, is that the ATO gets to levy tax on the pension of anyone who worked for the Australian government but retired to the UK.
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Old Jun 1st 2023, 10:50 am
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by Pulaski
It's not "discrimination", it's a matter of what the tax treaty says, and it's not that someone would be excused paying tax, it's just a question of where the tax is paid. The flip side to the ATO "losing out" on a British Civil Service pension taxed in the UK, is that the ATO gets to levy tax on the pension of anyone who worked for the Australian government but retired to the UK.
Ah OK. So government pensions are taxed in the UK where as non government are not?
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Old Jun 1st 2023, 1:39 pm
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Default Re: Moving money to Australia

Originally Posted by Beoz
Ah OK. So government pensions are taxed in the UK where as non government are not?
Yes, assuming that's what the tax treaty says, which it commonly does - UK-US, UK-Italy, UK-Spain, and UK-Australia are the treaties I have heard of that work like that.

There are probably some people flying under the radar paying tax in the wrong, though I am not sure how you could get a Civil Service pension incorrectly paid gross. Based on posts on BE in the Spanish and especially Italian forums, ignorance of the relevant treaty seems common even among tax authority staff. There is also a nuance to the UK-US treaty which I suspect is replicated in the other tax treaties, that if a British citizen who lives in the US and is in receipt of a British Civil Service pension, the taxing authority switches to the US if the person is, or becomes a US citizen.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 1st 2023 at 1:55 pm.
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