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Australia Overseas Remittance Taxation

In this comprehensive guide on Australian overseas remittance taxation, we share what you need to know about paying taxes during money transfers to Australia. You’ll learn about your obligations and the scenarios when paying taxes is not required. We also share the best money transfer companies for sending money to Australia.

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Understanding the tax laws and your obligations in a foreign country can be confusing. Therefore, we provide a basic overview of what you need to know about sending money to Australia. You’ll learn about the requirements for declaring money and when you need to pay taxes. Additionally, you’ll discover the cheapest money transfer methods, including WorldRemit, Wise, and Xe.

Moving to Australia For the First Time

When moving to Australia for the first time you can bring an unlimited amount of foreign currency into the country. However, if you are bringing in more than the equivalent of 10,000 AUD, you’ll need to declare it with customs according to AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre).

Furthermore, you’ll need to open up an Australian bank account, which the tax authorities will have access to keep an eye on taxable transactions. Some of the top Australian bank accounts include ING, Up, MyState Bank, Virgin Money, and HSBC's Everyday Global Account. You can use money transfer companies to transfer funds to these bank accounts at low rates.

Tax Requirements for different Transfer Reasons

In this section, you’ll learn about the tax requirements for transferring funds to Australia based on different use cases. Therefore, you can determine when to pay taxes to avoid legal issues. We also recommend hiring a tax account if you regularly send money to Australia to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

When Paying Taxes for Transfer to Australia is Required

Now let’s consider the cases where paying taxes for transfers to Australia is a requirement:

  • Pension: When receiving your pension in Australia, you’ll need to pay taxes. However, Australia has tax treaties with some countries for this form of money transfer.

  • Business: If you have a business overseas that’s generating a profit, you’ll be liable for tax payments on money received in Australia.

  • Personal income: If you are working for a company abroad or self-employed, money received will incur tax payments. Note that this includes freelancing, part-time and full-time.

  • Real estate: If you receive money from the rental income of a property abroad, you’ll need to pay taxes.

When you Don’t Need to Pay Taxes?

Now we share the top use cases where taxes are not applied for money transfers to Australia

  • One-time gift: In most cases, sending a gift to a recipient in Australia will not result in taxation. However, it varies based on the reasons for the money transfers. If the gift is related to a business transfer, the transaction might be taxable.

  • Inheritance: If you receive an inheritance from abroad, you will not get taxed in Australia. However, you’ll need to show proof that the money transfer is a result of an inheritance.

  • Moving to Australia: Money declared during a move to Australia will not incur taxes. However, this is a one-time transaction that you must complete close to the period of the move.

Do you Have to Pay Taxes When Using Money Transfer Companies?

The type of services used to send money to Australia doesn’t impact whether you pay taxes. Therefore, you need to pay taxes when using banks, specialist transfer providers, cash pick-up services, mobile money, and more.

The deciding factor of whether you should pay taxes for transfers to Australia is determined by the use cases detailed in the section above. Also, the laws relating to each use case can change, so you should read updated news from official sources.

How to Save Money When Transferring Funds to Australia?

This section provides a few tips for reducing the cost of international money transfers to Australia. You can save large sums of money when making strategic choices about transferring funds abroad.

  • Avoid banks: You should avoid using banks to send money internationally - even if you’re sending it to a bank account. That’s because wire transfer fees are around $20-50, which is uncompetitive in the current market. For example, if the fee is $50 and you’re sending $500, you’ll pay a fee of 10%.

  • Money transfer companies: Alternatively, you can find money transfer companies that charge no transfer fees, including Xe and TorFX. Therefore, you can save large amounts of money if you frequently send money to Australia.

  • FX rates: Find transfer channels that match the mid-market rate for currency conversions. Therefore, you can get the best rates for current market conditions. Also, set up rate alerts to keep an eye on when a good price is available for desired currency pairs.

  • Fee format: Find a fee format that matches your sending amount. For example, if you’re sending small amounts of money, a percentage-based fee format is better than a fixed one.

  • Regularly compare providers: The fees for each transfer provider change over time, so you must regularly check and compare them to continue using the most competitive providers. We encourage you to use our comparison engine to find the best deals for sending money abroad.

Advantages of Money Transfer Companies for Transfering Funds to Australia

Now let’s consider why specialist transfer providers are the better choice for money transfers to Australia compared to banks. Remember that for tax purposes, you’ll need to open up an Australian bank account. However, how you choose to transfer money to your Australian bank account is up to you.

Selecting services like TorFX and Xe gives you access to no transfer fees, regardless of the amount you’re sending. Also, these services have no sending limits, so you can transfer large amounts of money to fund property purchases or other investments. Money transfer providers can offer cheaper fees because the platforms have lower overheads compared to banks. The lack of bank branches and other services ensures they can focus on offering the lowest transfer fees.

Furthermore, some money transfer services allow you to enjoy the mid-market rate for many currency pairs, including conversions to AUD. You can check the live rates on the homepage of these companies for comparison with banks. The latter charges a 4-5% markup for currency conversion, so it’s an expensive money transfer channel. Make sure you convert the currency with the specialist transfer provider before it arrives in your Australian bank account.

Additionally, the transfer time with banks can take 2-7 business days - it varies based on the transfer amount and currencies involved in the transaction. Whereas companies like WorldRemit claim to process most transactions within 5 minutes. There is no extra charge for the fast processing speed, and you’ll receive updates when transfers are delayed.

Finally, the optimized user interfaces of specialist transfer providers ensure you can quickly figure out how to use the platform to send money to Australia. Expect to execute your first money transfer within just a few minutes of landing on the homepage.

Top 3 Money Transfer Companies for Sending Money to Australia

This section shares the best money transfer companies for transferring funds to Australia. We have researched the top providers on your behalf to save you time, so you can get started immediately. These companies were chosen based on important metrics like FX rates, fees, transfer time, reputation, customer support, and much more. The fast onboarding process of these companies means you can give each one a try for yourself.

1. WorldRemit - Best for Fast Transfers

WorldRemit claims that over 90% of money transfers will arrive at the destination bank account within 5 minutes. Therefore, it’s a fast way to fund your Australian bank account if you urgently need funds to pay the bills. Additionally, you can take advantage of instant transfers via cash pick-up services if you want to receive physical cash in Australia. There are over 30,000 WorldRemit agent locations worldwide, so finding one close by shouldn’t be a problem.

The service only charges $2.99 per bank transfer - even if you send large amounts of money. Therefore, it’s a cost-effective way of sending money to your Australian bank account. Compared with wire transfers that cost up to $50, you’ll save significant money over multiple transfers.

Finally, WorldRemit has a Trustpilot score of 4.1 out of 5 based on over 180,000 reviews, and it’s regulated by organizations like AUSTRAC and the Financial Conduct Authority. This indicates that WorldRemit is a trustworthy transfer provider you can depend on when living in Australia.

Visit WorldRemit

2. Wise - Best for FX Rates

Wise is dependable for regularly matching the mid-market rate for most currency transactions. Check the live rates for currency conversions to AUD on the homepage to compare with banks and alternative transfer companies. Wise lets you know when they match the mid-market rate and when the service falls short of the goal. That’s because transparency is one of its primary objectives to ensure customers are kept in the loop.

When visiting Australia, you can take advantage of Wise’s travel-friendly debit card. The VISA card is linked to your multi-currency account, which in turn allows you to get the best rates when making local purchases. The card will be charged in AUS or another currency at competitive rates.

Finally, Wise has an excellent reputation among customers, with a Trustpilot score of 4.5 out of 5 based on around 180,000 reviews. It’s also regulated by government-appointed regulators in the countries where it operates.

Visit Wise

3. Xe - Best for Large Transfers

Xe is the top choice if you want to buy a house or make a large investment in Australia. Firstly, the company doesn’t charge transfer fees or impose sending limits. Therefore, you can transfer large sums of money to Australia without restrictions or worrying about incurring massive fees.

Furthermore, Xe is considered the top choice for getting competitive FX rates for a wide range of currencies - including exotic ones. Therefore, you will get the best rates when transferring large sums of money. In practice, you may need to contact customer support when sending over $500,000 to get an accurate estimate of the currency rates.

Finally, Xe has a Trustpilot score of 4.2 out of 5 based on 55,000 reviews. Many customers love the optimized UI, responsive customer support, and reliability of money transfers. You can also download the highly-rated mobile app from Google Play or the App Store to access the same suite of features as the desktop version.

Visit XE

Are the Australian Money Transfer Taxation Laws Tricky to Understand?

Overall, the Australian laws relating to international money transfers are simple to follow because it’s clear when you must pay and avoid paying taxes. You can also hire the services of a tax accountant to receive assistance in paying taxes in Australia. Finally, the choice of competitive money transfer companies in Australia is comprehensive. Top examples include WorldRemit, Wise, and Xe.

We encourage you to read other articles on our website to learn more about the international money transfer process. You can get started with Send Money to Australia and Are Money Transfers Taxed. These guides provide insight into the best transfer providers and how to get the best rates.


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Martynas Pupkevicius
Martynas Pupkevicius
Martynas is a seasoned freelance writer that has written on a broad range of topics over his 10 year career. He enjoys diving into the research and sharing what he's learned with readers.