Tax considerations for non-residents

If you are not an Australian national, there are a number of things to bear in mind when it comes to finding out whether you are eligible to pay certain taxes.

Non-residents are usually only required to pay Australian tax on income which has been earned in this country. They are not taxed on fully franked dividends and a withholding tax system applies to these.
It is also necessary for non-residents to lodge an Australian tax return as they are not eligible for the tax-free threshold.

Non-resident status now includes most working holiday makers in Australia, regardless of the length of time of their working holiday. This means they will be subject to non-resident tax rates from their first dollar of income.

To help make life a little bit simpler, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website has a ‘Work out your tax residency’ test – but be aware that this is open to interpretation. The key issues are the intention of the non-resident and whether they are on holiday or intending to live in the country. Other issues which may affect which taxes are due include possessions, lease arrangements and memberships of clubs and organisations.

There is no substitute for professional advice and guidance on all non-resident tax-related matters. 

Visit your local TaxAssist Accountants office to see an accountant for a free, initial meeting.

By Terry Murphy
Last updated December 2016