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How to Claim Back Your Superannuation from Australia

If you are a foreigner working in Australia, not only are you treated as an Australian resident for tax purposes but you might also be eligible for superannuation (compulsory Australian pension payments). Apart from your own contributions as well as your contributions through a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer, your employer is obligated to make a compulsory payment called Super Guarantee that amounts to 9.5% of your ordinary time earnings if you are over the age of 18 and are earning more than $450 per month.

If you are not planning to retire in Australia and plan to leave, you are allowed to claim back the superannuation that you have accumulated during your working life in the country. You can be eligible for a superannuation refund under the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment or DASP if you meet certain requirements. These include the following:-

  • You have already left Australia.
  • You are not a permanent resident of Australia
  • You are not a citizen of either Australia or New Zealand
  • Your visa is no longer in effect. That is, it’s either been cancelled or has expired.
  • The superannuation was accumulated while you were working in Australia on a temporary resident visa.

What if you were a permanent resident in Australia?

If you were granted a permanent resident visa, you will only be eligible for a superannuation refund under DASP once your permanent visa has expired. The permanent visa isn’t generally cancelled so a holder of this visa must wait out for the visa’s expiry to claim back superannuation refund. It isn’t just enough that you have permanently left Australia; the status of your visa is also factored into consideration. Rather than wait, you can also choose to revoke your permanent residency.

New Zealand Citizens

Citizens of New Zealand leaving Australia permanently are allowed to transfer their accumulated superannuation to New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability Scheme.

Are there any time limitations to claiming your superannuation under DASP?

If six or more months have elapsed since you left Australia, your visa is no longer in effect and you still haven’t claimed your super under DASP, your super fund will file request for your superannuation to be transferred to the Australian Taxation Office as unclaimed super money. The ATO will hold this money until you claim it back. As long as you have left Australia and you visa is no longer in effect, you can always apply to get your super money back. So, in effect, there isn’t really a time limitation on claiming your superannuation from Australia. If you meet the requirements, you can always apply and get it.

What you need to claim your super from Australia

There are various certified documents and details that you need to provide in order to claim your superannuation from Australia. These include the following:-

  • Employers’ details
  • Tax File Number
  • Evidences of wages as well as Superannuation that was paid(your payslips will suffice)

The employer should have paid the mandatory 9.5% Super Guarantee that they are required to pay into the nominated super fund. When withdrawing your Superannuation amount, the super funds will deduct their fees such as exit fees and administrative fees and the Australian Taxation Office will withhold 35% from your gross Superannuation refund amount.

You may also be liable for additional taxes levied by your home country on your superannuation refund. Many tax jurisdictions tax their residents on their worldwide income regardless of where the income has been sourced from. So it is possible that your superannuation refund may be subjected to a double taxation. However, where there is the risk of double taxation, various tax jurisdictions normally provide relief for the tax that has already been paid in the country from which the income was sourced. Australia has Double Taxation Treaties with more than 50 countries so if your country is one of them, you will qualify for a significant tax relief on your Superannuation refund.

DASP for Working Holidaymakers (WHMs)

Working holidaymakers are treated as Australian residents for tax purpose and are even eligible for Superannuation. A person is a WHM is they hold any of the following two visas:-

  • 417 visa (Working Holiday visa)
  • 462 visa (Work and Holiday visa)
  • Any associated bridging visa

If you are a working holidaymaker under a 417 or a 462 visa, your superannuation refunds (DASPs) will be taxed at a rate of 65%. This rate will cover the super contributions that were made while you were holding a WHM visa. As long as you have ever held a 417 or a 462 visa, the 65% tax rate on DASP refunds will apply. This rate will be applicable on your entire super refund payment under DASP even if some of the super funds were earned while you were working in Australia under a different visa.

If you hold any other visa, your super refund will be taxed at 38% under DASP. Need help with claiming back your superannuation refund after moving out permanently out of Australia? Hire a professional accounting firm Melbourne to for professional counsel on how you can seamlessly go about the process.

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