Expat Accountant

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.
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Expat Accountant

Post by jmc1 » Tue, 06 Sep 2022 1:00 pm

I am an Australian citizen who is looking to move to Singapore for work however my family will remain in Australia. I am trying to understand what the tax implications are for this setup for me in Australia. Does anyone have any recommendations for accountants which specialise in Expats in Australia?

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Re: Expat Accountant

Post by PNGMK » Sat, 10 Sep 2022 4:41 pm

Yes and no. The govt in Australia has been moving towards making it harder for Australians' to be non tax resident (starting with removal of 26AG back in the the early 2000s). That is really what you need to become to minimize your Australian tax exposure while in Singapore (or you risk being taxed in Australia on your Singapore income, Australian income if any and at Australian tax rates!). There are a number of proofs for it but my suspicion is that if your family stays back you risk not being able to establish non residency because you are "maintaining an Australian home". In this case you need to research the rules on dual taxation between Australia and Singapore. DTA is NOT a panacea - you're basically still taxed at Australian rates in Australia less what you paid in Singapore (which has a max income tax rate of 22% vs Australia's 49.5% plus medicare and Singapore does not tax CGT, FBT, dividends or interest paid in Singapore so you're really losing out) .

My experience as an Australian expat is that most accountants know very little about the DTA or residency apart from the usual wives tales and you need to do your own research. KPMG and EY etc DO have good publications on these issues and I would probably start there if you're determined to pay someone for advice as they do consulting work on these matters for large MNCs. Your average accountant next to the fish n chip shop and newsagent won't. He may be able to look up the rules in the CCA (?) tax book but that's not much help given the state of flux.

It's completely off the wall but I have heard stories of Australian couples "decoupling" (legally separating and moving the home into the Australian resident spouses name) in order for the expat spouse to be able to establish non residency.

The new Albanese govt has seen however what a cock up the scomo govt made of their proposed expat changes (which were DRACONIAN) so there is some hope we will have clearer guidelines soon. In the meantime I note that most Aussie expats of significant means or on a good deal simply sell up completely (home, car, investments) and move out while overseas in order to reduce ANY potential ATO residency issues.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
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You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
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