Australians Moving to the UK: A Brief Comparison of the Australian and UK Tax System

Daniel Wilkie   |   16 Mar 2021   |   8 min read

The Australian tax system is surprisingly different to the UK tax system.

This makes a simple comparison between the two challenging. 

Determining, from an individual taxpayer perspective, which country has higher taxes, isn’t straightforward. Both countries apply progressive rates of tax, as well as a range of potential adjustments and offsets.

Income taxes are lower in the UK due to the progressive rates of tax applying at higher levels of taxable income, but as the UK also has much higher medical contribution taxes than Australia, the UK taxpayer may end up with a higher overall tax burden.

In Australia, income tax is assessed on the taxable income of a taxpayer which is assessable income less allowable deductions while in the UK specific “allowances” may reduce the different types of income before that income is taxed. 

Australian resident taxpayers have a standard tax free threshold, regardless of the type of income or income level, while UK taxpayers have access to different allowances (tax free amounts) that can vary based on income level and the type of income they are earning.

Foreign sourced income is also treated quite differently in the UK, with a threshold applying before tax is imposed.

The following table highlights some fundamental differences between the two tax systems:

Australian SystemUK Tax System
Assessable IncomeProgressive rates of tax applied to taxable income.Progressive rates of tax applied to taxable income- but different rates apply to capital gains and different types of income have allowances deducted before taxes are assessed.
Tax Free componentStandard tax free threshold applies to all taxpayers on the first $18,200 of their income, regardless of the source of this income.A personal allowance is deducted from the taxpayer’s income before tax is assessed. This allowance is increased for married taxpayers and blind taxpayers, but is reduced for high income earners. Additional allowances are separately applied to different types of income, such as capital gains and investment income. 
Public HealthFlat rate of medicare levy applies to all taxpayers unless they are exempt. Variable rate of health insurance taxes applies, depending on income type and amount of income. This is paid by both the employer and the employee. 
Personal benefits provided by an employerPersonal benefits are taxed to the employer as fringe benefits. There are a range of concessions and exemptions that may be applied. Personal benefits are taxed to the employee, at the value of the benefit. There are some benefits that are exempt. 
Residency An individual who resides in Australia, or an Australian citizen who doesn’t setup a permanent home outside of AustraliaPhysically present in the UK for a specified period of time during the tax year
Individual Taxpayer’s Tax year1 July to 30 June6 April to 5 April
PAYG SystemPAYGW (Pay As You Go Withholding) means employers withhold some of an employee’s wage to be paid to the tax office. This helps cover the individual taxpayer’s annual tax assessment. Any excess PAYGW becomes a tax refund. PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is similar to Australia’s PAYGW system. When too much PAYE has been withheld then an individual can apply for a tax rebate (tax refund) for the excess. 
Who is Required to Lodge a Tax ReturnAll Australian residents and any non-residents with any Australian sourced income are required to lodge a tax return (some exclusions apply for residents who earn under the tax free threshold and have no PAYGW to claim, and for non-residents who only earn certain types of income, such as interest income covered by PAYGW under the DTA). Most employees’ taxes are covered by their company’s payroll system, meaning they don’t need to lodge a tax return. Tax returns may need to be lodged where:

– Income other than employment income is earned (above the allowance)
– Foreign income was earned
– You are a higher rate taxpayer (annual income over 100,000 pounds)
– You need to claim a tax rebate for excess PAYE

Residency

Australian residency is generally dependent on whether an individual actually resides in Australia, however Australian citizens may continue to be Australian tax residents while temporarily residing overseas. There are a number of tests that can be used to help determine residency.

UK residency is based on the number of days an individual is physically present in the UK during the tax year. For more complex situations that do not meet the automatic test, other factors may apply.

Tax Rates

Both Australia and the UK apply progressive rates of tax ranging from 0% to 45%.

However, while Australia has a standard initial tax free threshold for all taxpayers, the UK utilises a system of allowances that taxpayers deduct from their income before tax is assessed. The amount of allowance changes depending on a range of factors, and different allowances are applied for different types of income, such as employment income, investment income and capital gains.

Medicare/ NHS

Australians pay a flat rate of medicare (2%), unless they are exempt. High tax payers pay an additional medicare levy surcharge of up to 1.5%, unless they pay for private hospital health insurance. 

In the UK both the employer and the employee are required to pay a contribution towards national health insurance, at rates varying from 0% up to 13.8%.

Capital Gains

Both Australian and the UK impose a capital gains tax.

In Australia capital gains are simply added to an individual taxpayer’s assessable income and taxed at the marginal rate at which the income falls. Assets that have been owned for more than 1 year can be discounted by 50% before being included as assessable income. Other exemptions may also be applied to reduce or rollover capital gains.

The UK tax system gives taxpayers an annual allowance for capital gains. Any capital gains up to the allowance each year are tax free. Like Australia, there are also other exemptions that may be applied to reduce or rollover certain capital gains. 

In the UK, capital gains are taxed at a different rate to other income, and residential property is taxed at different rates to other assets. Higher/additional rate taxpayers pay 28% on residential property and 20% on other chargeable assets. Basic rate taxpayers will pay either 10% or 20% on capital gains, unless it is on residential property, in which case the rate is either 18% or 28% (depending on the size of the gain and the taxable income of the taxpayer.

Both countries have an exemption for the sale of an individuals’ main residence.

Inheritance tax

Australia does not have an inheritance tax.

Neither inheritances nor deceased estates attract any specific form of tax. Any property or investments that are inherited will attract taxes in the same way as any property or investments that were acquired personally and subsequently sold. (There are some provisions for inheriting a main residence that allow the main residence exemption to be carried over).

The UK has a standard inheritance tax rate of 40% above the tax free threshold (the standard tax free threshold is currently 325,000 pounds).

Where everything is left to a spouse, civil partner, charity or community amateur sports club, there is normally no inheritance tax to pay. When your home is given to your children (including adopted, step, and foster children), the threshold can increase to 500,000 pounds.

If an individual who is married (or in a civil partnership) passes away with an estate that is worth less than their threshold, then the unused portion of their threshold can be added to their partner’s threshold for when they die.

The inheritance tax may be reduced to 36% on certain assets if at least 10% of the net value of the estate is left to charity in the will. There are some other reliefs and exemptions to help reduce inheritance taxes on gifts donated prior to death, business relief, and agricultural relief.

Australian and UK Tax Systems

Each tax system has a range of complexities that are unique to the respective country.

In some ways the basic Australian tax return is more straightforward for the individual taxpayer.

On the other hand, the UK system’s use of deductible allowances for different types of income, provides for a range of tax planning avenues that are not available to Australians.

Since the tax systems between each country are so different, and residency changes can trigger complex tax issues, it is important to seek expert advice in both countries when making a move between Australia and the UK.

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Australian Expats Living In The USA: Understanding Your Investment Property Tax Obligations


26th Jul 2023
John Marcarian

As an Australian expat living in the USA you may have to contend with the impact of taxes on property that you own in Australia or in the USA The types of taxes relating to property that you may...

 

Managing Dual Tax Residency as an Expat


11th Jul 2023
Daniel Wilkie

When you live and work solely in one country, tax residency is straightforward However, if you are living away from your home country or living between multiple countries, then determining tax...

 

Australian Expatriates: Casualties of Law


27th Jun 2023
Matthew Marcarian

Our principal, Matthew Marcarian, was recently published in Australia’s leading tax journal, Taxation in Australia (run by the Tax Institute), with his article titled “Australian Expatriates:...

 

Australian Expats Living In The USA: Understanding Your Investment Property Tax Obligations


26th Jul 2023
John Marcarian

As an Australian expat living in the USA you may have to contend with the impact of taxes on property that you own in Australia or in the USA The...

 

Managing Dual Tax Residency as an Expat


11th Jul 2023
Daniel Wilkie

When you live and work solely in one country, tax residency is straightforward However, if you are living away from your home country or living...

 

Australian Expatriates: Casualties of Law


27th Jun 2023
Matthew Marcarian

Our principal, Matthew Marcarian, was recently published in Australia’s leading tax journal, Taxation in Australia (run by the Tax Institute),...

Australian Moving to the UK: How Do I Treat Non-UK Sourced Income?

Daniel Wilkie   |   15 Sep 2020   |   6 min read

One of the top questions we are asked by Australians who are moving to the UK, is “how am I taxed on my non-UK sourced income in the UK?”

Since a UK non-resident would only be taxed on any UK sourced income, this question is predicated on the basis that the Australian is moving to the UK on a permanent basis. A permanent move means that they are ceasing to be an Australian tax resident and instead will be considered a UK tax resident.

In general, just like Australia, the UK taxes residents on their worldwide income. This means that UK tax residents have to pay tax on any income they earn, regardless of where the income is sourced. However, there is a clause for what they consider “non-domiciled” residents, whereby taxes are instead paid on a remittance basis. Since many Australians moving to the UK would fall into the definition of a “non-domiciled” resident, this is an important question. We cover what this means below. 

Australian Tax Rules on Non-Australian Sourced Income

For comparison, let’s consider the Australian rules on residency. Most people are aware that as an Australian tax resident you are required to pay Australian income tax on income you receive, regardless of where it is sourced. However there are certain exceptions for individuals who are temporary residents. Once you cease to be an Australian resident you are only required to pay Australian income tax on income that has an Australian source.

The UK operates on a similar basis, however their exemption for “temporary” residents is measured and treated differently than Australia’s exemption.

UK Residency Rules

In general, tax residents of the UK are liable for income tax in the UK, on their worldwide income. This means that it doesn’t matter where the income is sourced, it is included in the resident’s tax return.

In the UK you are automatically considered a tax resident when either one of of the following applies:

  • You spend over 183 days in the UK during the tax year.
  • Your only home was in the UK (owned, rented or lived in for at least 91 days, with at least 30 days spent there in the tax year).

Conversely you are automatically considered a non-resident if either of the following applies:

  • You spent under 16 days in the UK (or 46 if you haven’t been classed as a UK resident for the previous 3 tax years). 
  • You worked on average 35 hours a week abroad, and spent less than 91 days in the UK, of which less than 31 days you were working in the UK.

Keep in mind that in instances where an individual would be considered dual tax residents of Australia and the UK, then the tie breaker rules in the Double Tax Agreement require consideration to determine which country has taxing rights on the different sources of income.

However, while the general rule is that tax residents are assessed on their worldwide income, there is, as indicated previously, an exception. This exception is for tax residents whom the UK considers to be “non-domiciled residents”.

Non-domiciled UK Residents

Non-domiciled residents are individuals, including Australian citizens, who are only living in the UK for the short to medium term.

A UK resident who has a permanent home outside of the UK is considered to have a domicile in that other country. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a specific, physical house, but more so that the ties to their home country mean that this country is considered to be their ‘permanent’ home. When an individual has a permanent home outside of the UK they are considered to be a “non-domiciled” tax resident of the UK.

In the UK a ‘domicile’ is typically the country in which your father permanently resided when you were born. For instance, the country in which you are a citizen by descent. However, this may not be the case if you have legitimately and permanently moved to another country, with no intention of returning to your original home country. This would mean that your ‘domicile’ changes to the new country in which you begin to permanently reside.

“Remittance” Rules on Taxes on Non-UK Sourced Income for Non-domiciled Residents

For non-domiciled residents, non-UK sourced income is treated differently depending on the total amount of the non-Uk sourced income. 

Under 2,000 Pounds

If you are a “non-domiciled” UK resident then you ignore all foreign income and gains if that income is under 2,000 pounds for the tax year and you do not bring that income into the UK. You must have a bank account in your home country, and the funds from that income must stay back in the home country instead of being transferred into the UK. If this is the case then you don’t have to do anything about your foreign income when lodging a tax return.

However, if the income you earn from overseas sources exceeds 2,000 Pounds, or you bring any income into the UK, then you must report that income in a self-assessed tax return.

Over 2,000 Pounds

When the non-UK sourced income exceeds 2,000 pounds (or the income is brought into the UK), the income can’t just be ignored. The rules under which foreign income is taxed in the UK, for non-domiciled residents, is the ‘remittance basis’. This essentially means that you have a choice on how you treat the reported income.

Choice of how UK Taxes are Sorted Out

Choice 1: You can Simply Choose to Pay UK Taxes on the Income. 

If you choose this option then you will be assessed for income tax on your foreign income. If tax is paid on the Australian sourced income (or may be taxed elsewhere if it is income relating to another country), there are a number of rules that ensure you are not taxed twice on this income. In some cases this will result in a reduction to your UK taxes. 

Choice 2: You can Claim the ‘Remittance Basis’.

If you choose to be taxed on the remittance basis, then you only have to pay tax on any of the income that you actually bring into the UK.

However, in a trade off for this consideration, you will lose any tax-free allowances for income tax and capital gains. You will also be required to pay an annual charge if your residency in the UK exceeds a certain timeframe. This annual charge is 30,000 pounds if you have resided in the UK for at least 7 of the past 9 years, or 60,000 pounds if you have resided in the UK for at least 12 of the past 14 years.

The remittance basis may be a great option if you are living in the UK for less than 7 years, however, beyond this you would need to assess your situation to determine your optimal position.

Seek Appropriate Advice for your Situation

Since the remittance basis can get complicated it is best to talk to a UK tax adviser for specific advice. You need to consider your own position, your long term intentions, and where you hold your investments, including rental properties, that are generating taxable income.

See here for a brief comparison of the Australian and UK tax system.

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Australian Expats Living In The USA: Understanding Your Investment Property Tax Obligations


26th Jul 2023
John Marcarian

As an Australian expat living in the USA you may have to contend with the impact of taxes on property that you own in Australia or in the USA The types of taxes relating to property that you may...

 

Managing Dual Tax Residency as an Expat


11th Jul 2023
Daniel Wilkie

When you live and work solely in one country, tax residency is straightforward However, if you are living away from your home country or living between multiple countries, then determining tax...

 

Australian Expatriates: Casualties of Law


27th Jun 2023
Matthew Marcarian

Our principal, Matthew Marcarian, was recently published in Australia’s leading tax journal, Taxation in Australia (run by the Tax Institute), with his article titled “Australian Expatriates:...

 

Australian Expats Living In The USA: Understanding Your Investment Property Tax Obligations


26th Jul 2023
John Marcarian

As an Australian expat living in the USA you may have to contend with the impact of taxes on property that you own in Australia or in the USA The...

 

Managing Dual Tax Residency as an Expat


11th Jul 2023
Daniel Wilkie

When you live and work solely in one country, tax residency is straightforward However, if you are living away from your home country or living...

 

Australian Expatriates: Casualties of Law


27th Jun 2023
Matthew Marcarian

Our principal, Matthew Marcarian, was recently published in Australia’s leading tax journal, Taxation in Australia (run by the Tax Institute),...

Residency – Harding’s Appeal Victory

Matthew Marcarian   |   5 Mar 2019   |   4 min read

The biggest personal tax residency case in 40 years just got bigger. The taxpayer Mr Glen Harding having lost his case in front of a single judge in the Federal Court has won an emphatic victory in the Full Federal Court in a decision handed down on 22 February 2019.

In Harding v Commissioner of Taxation [2018] FCA 837 in a unanimous decision the Court found that Glen Harding was not a resident of Australia because;

  • he did have a Permanent Place of Abode in Bahrain; and
  • he did not reside in Australia;

As we reported last year in our blog (an Appeal to Common Sense) the taxpayer, Glen Harding, appealed from an initial Federal Court decision against him.

The Facts of Harding’s case were, in essence, that Mr Harding, in his evidence, had abandoned his residence in Australia, with the intention never to return. However, in establishing life in Bahrain, he lived in an apartment building called “Classic Towers”. Initially he took a two bedroom apartment because he believed that his wife and children would visit him from time to time.  He remained in that apartment from 10 June 2009 until 9 June 2011.  When his marriage broke down around 2011 and he realised that his wife would not be moving to Bahrain, he moved in to a one bedroom apartment where he remained until 9 June 2012.

The case was all about whether Mr Harding was a resident in Australia for the income tax year ended 30 June 2011 and the single judge in the first instance found that because of the style of accommodation that Mr Harding chose in Bahrain, being a fully furnished apartment, he had not established a permanent place of abode in Bahrain, despite several other factors which demonstrated that he was living in Bahrain.

Several principles of residency law were analysed in detail by the Court. However, the main focus was on the question of what was meant by the phrase ‘Permanent Place of Abode’. A clear understanding of that phrase is critical because of the definition of tax residency in Section 6(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936.

That definition says that a person is a resident of Australia if they reside in Australia and includes a person who is Australian domiciled unless the Commissioner would be satisfied that the person has established a Permanent Place of Abode outside Australia.

Most Australian expats who move overseas will remain domiciled in Australia and hence, unless they can show that they have established a permanent place of abode overseas, will remain fully taxable in Australia. It has never been the case that an Australian who is itinerant overseas avoids taxation in Australia.

So the question ‘what is a Permanent Place of Abode?” is critical. In their joint decision,  Davies and Steward JJ with Logan J in agreement, indicated that the word ‘place’ should be read as including a reference to a country or state and they expanded by saying;

In the context of the legislative history, in our view, the phrase “place of abode” is not a reference, as one might have thought, only to a person’s specific house or flat or other dwelling.  If that had been Parliament’s intention it would have used the phrase “permanent abode” rather than “permanent place of abode”.  The word “place” in the context of the phrase “outside Australia” in subpara (i) invites a consideration of the town or country in which a person is physically residing “permanently”.

In taking that approach, the Court referred to the analysis of Sheppard J in Applegate’s case where he indicated that as follows:

“place of abode”’ may mean the house in which a person lives or the country, city or town in which he is for the time being to be found.  I am of the view that the latter is the meaning of the expression used in s. 6(1.) of the Act.  Thus a person might be correctly said to have a permanent place of abode in, say, Vila, notwithstanding that during a given period he lived in a number of different establishments occupying each for only a relatively short period.  His case is no different from one where a person, such as the appellant here, lives, for a substantial period, in the same house.

So here we see, for the first time, a definite focus by the Federal Court on the permanence in a particular jurisdiction as being of paramount importance rather than the particular ‘type’ of accommodation that a tax payer chooses to live in within that jurisdiction.

If this decision stands, it would be a victory for common sense, because if a person is living permanently in a particularly city it should not be critical what type of accommodation the person chooses to live in.

Author: Matthew Marcarian

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...

Permanent Place of Abode – Harding Appeals to common sense

Matthew Marcarian   |   24 Jul 2018   |   8 min read

The taxpayer, Mr Harding has appealed to the Full Federal Court of Australia from a decision handed down on 8 June 2018 by Justice Derrington, in Harding v Commissioner of Taxation [2018] FCA 837. In that case His Honour, found that Mr Harding was resident of Australia for tax purposes under the Domicile Test, because he failed to establish a ‘permanent place of abode’ in Bahrain during the relevant year, even though he left Australia permanently in 2009 and lived in Bahrain until 2015, before moving to Oman.

We believe the decision creates significant uncertainty and we are glad to see it appealed.

What happened in the case?

In 2009 Mr Harding departed Australia to take up full time employment in Saudi Arabia. He chose to live in Bahrain (as is commonly done) and obtained a visa to do so. Mr Harding and his wife Mrs Harding had previously lived overseas in the Middle East.

On the facts outline in the case, Mr Harding seemed to have lived in the one apartment in Bahrain for almost 2 years from June 2009 to 9 June 2011, including almost all of the year ended 30 June 2011 – which was the year in dispute in the case.

Matters were apparently made complicated for Mr Harding because on this occasion his wife (and his children) did not accompany him to Bahrain initially and after going so far as to enrol his youngest son into the British School in Bahrain, Mr Harding’s marriage did not survive.

There is a some suggestion that Mr Harding only secured a two bedroom apartment when he initially moved to Bahrain, perhaps because he knew that when his family moved (as he intended that they would) more suitable accomodation would be required. His Honour also appeared to be completely convinced that Mr Harding had departed Australia permanently – even going so far as to list the things which he considered were evidence of that fact.

What was the problem?

The problem for Mr Harding was that even though His Honour was convinced that he had left Australia permanently (and was not resident according to ordinary concepts), His Honour was not convinced that Mr Harding had established a ‘permanent place of abode’ in Bahrain. Consequently since Mr Harding was an Australian domicile – he was still a tax resident of Australia.

This is because of the operation of the ‘Domicile Test’ in Australia’s residency laws. The Domicile Test treats all persons who have their domicile in Australia as being tax resident, unless they can show that they have a ‘permanent place of abode’ outside Australia. We believe that the concept of Permanent Place of Abode is a settled concept under Australia’s tax law and has been so for over 40 years since FC of T v Applegate 79 ATC  4307 (Applegate). The concept of ‘place of abode’ has its ordinary meaning and the use of the word ‘permanent’ in connection with an abode simply implies a place which is not temporary.

Given that the Court agreed that Mr Harding;

– made his life in Bahrain;
– had a visa to reside in Bahrain and in fact resided in Bahrain;
– owned a car in Bahrain;
– had exclusive use of an apartment in Bahrain which he leased (which the Court agreed was not short-term accomodation; see para 75);
– travelled every day from Bahrain to his full time place of work in Saudi Arabia;

we find it difficult to see why Mr Harding was found not to have a permanent place of abode in Bahrain.

The factors that seemed to be held against Mr Harding were that he did not own many possessions (given the apartment was fully furnished) and it was reasonably easy for him to move between apartments in the same complex which he did in July 2011 (after spending almost 2 years in the fist apartment) when it became apparent that Mrs Harding was not going to move to Bahrain.

It also seemed to weigh strongly on His Honour’s considerations that Mrs Harding did not seem to want to live in the original apartment Mr Harding had chosen (even though it was big enough to house the family) and that Mr and Mrs Harding together looked at alternative accomodation when she visited him in Bahrain.

A relevant fact also apparently was that Mr Harding’s postal mail was not sent to Bahrain, but continued to be sent to his former home in Australia. In relation to this His Honour remarked in his closing remarks (para 149) that “It is indicative of an intention to reside at premises permanently or, at least, not temporarily if that place is used as the address for correspondence. Were a person to use their apartment address as that to which important correspondence is to be addressed it can be thought that they are intending to remain there for an extended period of time.” We cannot understand why His Honour considered that the receipt of postal mail in Australia was of material significance, when by contrast His Honour did not see it as particularly significant that Mr Harding had continuing financial arrangements with Australia (paragraph 85).

Factors suggesting Mr Harding did have a Permanent Place of Abode was in Bahrain

The strangeness of the decision here is compounded by the fact that although Mr Harding’s contract of employment was only for 12 months, when Counsel for the Commissioner argued that Mr Harding’s presence in Bahrain was ‘somewhat tenuous’ because of this, His Honour responded by remarking (correctly in our view) on the permanent nature of Mr Harding’s departure from Australia, his intention never to return to Australia to live, and his working history which demonstrated that was ’eminently employable’, effectively dismissing the Commissioner’s argument that the short term nature of the employment contract was a material weakness in the case.

Indeed at para 147 His Honour remarks that “An associated argument advanced by the Commissioner was that as Mr Harding’s employment in the Middle East might be terminated at short notice, his presence there was necessarily of a transitory nature. That submission, however, fails to take into account that Mr Harding was intent on remaining in the Middle East, although not necessarily in Bahrain, and his presence there was not, necessarily, tied to his continued employment with TQ Education.”

The decision in this case is all the more puzzling given that His Honour accepted that Mr Harding took leases of the apartments as extended term propositions also accepting that“that Mr Harding made his life in Bahrain. It was the place from which he commuted daily to his work in Saudi Arabia. He formed friendships there and it was where he attended restaurants and bars after work. He also went to the beaches there and engaged in go-carting at the local grand prix track. In general terms, he pursued the expatriate lifestyle with which he had been familiar for many years.”

Implications for Australian Expats

We hope that the decision in Harding is overturned on appeal. The answer to question of whether a person has established a ‘permanent place of abode’ overseas should be arrived at simply and in a common sense fashion, by considering whether the taxpayer has only a temporary place of abode in the country.

For residency purposes if a place is not temporary then it must be permanent otherwise a person cannot have any certainty.  Surely we cannot have a third class of residency, being a state of being somewhere in the middle of temporary and permanent.

If the Court accepts that Mr Harding ‘made his life in Bahrain’ it should accept that he had a permanent place of abode there, regardless of where his postal mail is sent to.

It is pertinent to conclude by reflecting on the often quoted words of Fisher J in Applegate who said;

“To my mind the proper construction to place upon the phrase ‘permanent place of abode’ is that it is the taxpayer’s fixed and habitual place of abode. It is his home, but not his permanent home..Material factors for consideration will be the continuity or otherwise of the taxpayer’s presence, the duration of his presence and the durability of his association with the particular place.”

We look forward to a common sense judgement from the Full Federal Court in Mr Harding’s case.

UPDATE: On 22 February 2019, the Full High Court handed down a decision on the Harding v Commissioner of Taxation [2018] FCA 837  case. Please see Residency – Harding’s Appeal Victory for the decision.

Author: Matthew Marcarian

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...

Removal of CGT Main Residence Exemption For Australian Expatriates – Disastrous Tax Changes Now Imminent

Matthew Marcarian   |   25 Feb 2018   |   6 min read

As we reported in our blog last year – the Australian Government announced that it would remove the CGT main residence exemption for foreign residents.

It was said that this reform was being introduced as part of measures to address housing affordability in Australia. Due to other legislative priorities a bill to enact the change was not introduced and we had hoped that the Government would have taken the time to ensure grandfathering of all existing properties.

However the bill was re-introduced earlier this month as Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures No. 2) Bill 2018, apparently unchanged after the exposure draft consultation period last year.

The Bill has now been referred to a Senate Standing Committee which represents the last opportunity to lobby for changes to be made to the Bill. Submissions close 5 March 2018.

What Is The Problem?

In trying to tighten our CGT laws, the Bill denies Australians living abroad access to the “CGT absence concession”. This existing concession gives many Australian expats the opportunity to retain the CGT exemption on their former home for up to 6 years, even if they rented their home out after they had moved overseas. This exemption will be removed.

Disastrously though, the changes seem to be more fundamental. The Bill, as drafted, denies even a partial CGT exemption by providing no CGT relief even for the period of time when the person had lived in their home before departing Australia. The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill makes this alarming problem crystal clear (see Example 1.2 which is extracted below). We do not believe this was the Government’s intention.

The only way out under the draft Bill is that taxpayers seem to be allowed to move back into the property after returning to Australia (as a resident) and to then sell the home on a CGT free basis (assuming the absence exemption otherwise applies). This creates a tax-driven ‘lock-in’ effects which is likely to create significant issues for taxpayers and rather than assist housing supply could in fact create further supply constraints.

Does This Apply To You?

If you are an Australian expatriate then the Bill provides that unless you sell your former home prior to 30 June 2019, you will be subject to CGT on the sale of the property if you sell it after that date while you are still a non-resident of Australia for tax purposes. Unfortunately, as currently drafted, the Bill would not even provide you with a partial CGT exemption to recognise the period of time that you lived in your home prior to your departure. To preserve your CGT exemption you would be left with the choice of either selling prior to 30 June 2019 or else keeping the property until you one day return to Australia.

The tightness of the 30 June 2019 deadline has seen concerns expressed in the Australian Financial Review recently about a fire sale in expat owned property. While predictions of a fire sale may not be true, it is nonetheless a highly unfair position to put home owners in and the Bill represents poor policy implementation.

Artificially ending the absence concession by using a ‘drop dead date’ on 30 June 2019 is highly equitable. It will mean that failure to sell by 30 June 2019 could mean that an Australian living overseas could be exposed to hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax, given the increases in Australian property over the last 3 years.

What Should Be Done To Fix This?

We strongly urge the Government to fix the Bill by ensuring that amendments are made so that:

  • all Australian expatriates who were already non-resident of Australia when the changes were announced on 9 May 2017, should continue to be able to access the absence concession regardless of where they reside; and
  • all persons should be able to access the partial CGT exemption for at least that part of the ownership period during which they lived in the property and were resident of Australia.

We believe that the flaws in this Bill are an oversight that will be rectified once these problems are better understood. In our experience most Australians living abroad who keep their home in Australia do pay taxes and continue to contribute to the Australian economy.

If the Government wishes to persist with the change of law to only permit CGT exemptions for those who are tax resident in Australia –  then they should ensure that they are fair to the thousands of Australians who have moved overseas (most of whom will return) but who have retained their former homes in Australia.

Final submissions are now being requested and we strongly recommend that interested parties make a submission on this inequitable change.

You can contact your local member of parliament and forward this blog.

If you are concerned about the unfairness of this change submissions can be made to.

Committee Secretariat Contact:

Senate Standing Committees on Economics
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3540
Fax: +61 2 6277 5719
economics.sen@aph.gov.au

Extract from Explanatory Memorandum to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures No. 2) Bill 2018

Example 1.2 — Main Residence Exemption Denied

Vicki acquired a dwelling in Australia on 10 September 2010, moving into it and establishing it as her main residence as soon as it was first practicable to do so. On 1 July 2018 Vicki vacated the dwelling and moved to New York. Vicki rented the dwelling out while she tried to sell it. On 15 October 2019 Vicki finally signs a contract to sell the dwelling with settlement occurring on 13 November 2019. Vicki was a foreign resident for taxation purposes on 15 October 2019. The time of CGT event A1 for the sale of the dwelling is the time the contract for sale was signed, that is 15 October 2019. As Vicki was a foreign resident at that time she is not entitled to the main residence exemption in respect of her ownership interest in the dwelling. Note:

This outcome is not affected by:

• Vicki previously using the dwelling as her main residence; and

• the absence rule in section 118-145 that could otherwise have applied to treat the dwelling as Vicki’s main residence from 1 July 2018 to 15 October 2019 (assuming all of the requirements were satisfied).

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...

Guide: Moving to Expatland™

Matthew Marcarian   |   21 Jun 2017   |   1 min read

DOWNLOAD

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...

Guide: Australians Moving Abroad

Matthew Marcarian   |      |   1 min read

The move to Expatland is an exciting time. However, on the topic of tax we often find that Australians departing do not receive the right initial advice and therefore often make costly errors as result of complex outcomes they have not seen coming.

To help, we have developed our guide ‘Australians Moving Abroad’ which provides answers to the most commonly asked questions. The guide covers many tax issues such as Tax Residency, Capital Gains Tax, Australian property issues,  Foreign Earnings, CGT Main Residence Exemption issues, and Non-resident Tax Rates.

If you need specific advice about your situation we would be delighted to assist you through CST’s Departing Australia Tax Review service.

For clients with significant domestic and/or international investments our advisors will recommend our Strategic Tax Review service to provide you with more detailed advice.

DOWNLOAD

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...

Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Payment

Matthew Marcarian   |   3 Mar 2016   |   2 min read

Author: David Dai

New legislation in relation to foreign resident capital gains withholding payments for foreign residents who sell real property in Australia applies from 1 July 2016.
This rule applies to contracts to buy Australian real estate or interests in “Land rich” companies or trusts entered into with a foreign resident vendor.
For real estate transactions valued above $2 million, the purchaser must withhold 10% of the purchase price unless the vendor shows to the purchaser a clearance certificate obtained from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Where no clearance certificate is provided, the purchaser by default is required to withhold 10% of purchase price and remit it to the ATO on or before settlement. Penalties apply for failure to withhold.
In certain circumstances, the ATO allows a variation of the withholding amount by an application from the vendor and an ATO generated variation notice must be given to the purchaser prior to settlement.
Even though the rule targets foreign resident vendors, mismanagement of the process can have an unintended withholding consequence where an Australian resident vendor fails to provide the necessary certificate to the purchaser on or before settlement.
Please note the 10% withholding tax is not a final tax, a refund can be obtained through the filing of the Australian tax return where the income tax is less than the withholding payment.

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...

CST Tax Advisors – Case Watch

Matthew Marcarian   |   17 Feb 2016   |   3 min read

Author: Matthew Marcarian

Hua Wang Bank case – the drama continues

Is Australia’s most important corporate residency case in 40 years heading to the High Court? We are watching with interest. The taxpayer has appealed to the High Court from the decision made by the Full Federal Court in Bywater Investments Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2015] FCAFC 176 on appeal from the decision in Hua Wang Bank Berhad v Commissioner of Taxation [2014] FCA 1392.

What makes the Bywater/Hua Wang case so compelling is that the Federal Court came down so strongly on the side of the Commissioner in agreeing with his argument for a ‘substance over form’ approach.

What was the case about?

The question was whether five overseas-incorporated companies had their central management and control in Australia and therefore were Australian residents for tax purposes. The amount of tax in dispute, before interest and penalties, was over AUD 14M.

What was decided?

Justice Perram was damning in his conclusions. He referred to the activities of the foreign companies as a ‘crooked pantomime’ designed as window dressing to conceal the control of the Australian resident. Overseas directors were ‘puppets who did not exercise any independent judgment in the discharge of their offices’ but instead merely carried into effect the wishes of the Australian resident in a mechanical fashion.

Apart from the overwhelming findings of fact and there was also resounding condemnation by the judge of the taxpayer’s ‘disgraceful’ behaviour in trying to conceal his ownership of the foreign companies. The ATO was able to obtain documents from the Cayman Islands that proved otherwise.

At a technical level the case highlighted ‘two principles’ relating to the issues that have never once waivered over the past 40 years in Australian tax law; being that

  1. a company is resident where its real business is carried on, and its real business is carried on where the central management and control abides; and
  2. the question of where a company is resident is one of fact and degree.
Implications for clients

The case is an object lesson to Australian companies or entrepreneurs seeking to expand overseas and who intend to use ‘nominee directors’.

This case dramatically illustrates how important it is for clients to ensure that any overseas companies are run by overseas directors with sufficient operational experience and independence to be able to carry on and supervise the business of the company. If strings are pulled from Australia there is a risk that those overseas companies will be considered resident in Australia, with the result that Australian tax may apply. A second set of rules, the Controlled Foreign Corporation rules may also apply to foreign company that aer controlled by Australian residents even if they are controlled and managed outside Australia, if the income derived is passive in nature or considered to be tainted income.

CST Tax Advisors is able to assist clients with advice in these complex areas.

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...

Expat Blog Post Featuring John Marcarian

John Marcarian   |   17 Jul 2015   |   1 min read

Leading expat social network Expat-blog.com has recently posted an article about John Marcarian and his experiences as an expatriate.

In the article John talks about important issues such as establishing the CST Singapore office, finding the right accommodation, settling in to the Singaporean lifestyle and how Expatland the book can help soon-to-be expatriates.

Specially designed for those living or wishing to live abroad, Expat blog provides you information and advice to settle and live overseas.

Expat blog helps you throughout your project. Discover life in your host country, get in touch with the other expats and find all the info needed for your everyday life.

To read the article, visit the Expat Blog site on www.expat-blog.com or click on the link http://www.expat-blog.com/en/interview/426_john-in-singapore.html

NEED ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR SITUATION?

Contact us today
Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Do you need tax services in our other regions?
By providing us your information you agree to our privacy policy

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Corporate Residency

Please provide your details to access the online tool

Name is required.

Email is required.

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Place of
Incorporation

Is the company incorporated outside Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Central Management
and Control

Is the Central Management and Control
of the company exercised in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Carry on a Business

Does the company carry on a business in Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Voting Power

Is the company's voting power controlled
by shareholders who are residents of Australia?

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is an Australian Resident

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

The company is not a resident
but it could be a CFC

Contact us for tailored international tax advice
regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact us for tailored international tax advice regarding your client's specific situation.

Contact Us

Determining Corporate Residency

Use our online tool to determine the corporate residency of your client's business.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

More articles like this

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and lodgement of employee forms, there is a range of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some types of taxes also apply locally, meaning that...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal requirements, there are many factors to consider The type of...

 

Expanding To The USA: Your Payroll Tax Obligations


28th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has similar payroll tax requirements to Australia From withholding taxes on wages, to payment of payroll taxes assessed on wages paid, and...

 

Expanding To The USA: Understanding Corporate Taxation – Federal, State & Local


20th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

The US has a complex tax system, with multiple taxes, including income taxes, often being imposed on a State level as well as a Federal level Some...

 

Expanding To The USA: Choosing A Legal Structure For Your Business


14th Sep 2023
John Marcarian

Expanding to the US means you are entering a complex tax system From international tax concerns, to different Local, State, and Federal...