Filing Taxes as an American Living in Australia (Video) US Expat Taxes Explained


This article was first published on July 2, 2012. It was updated on June 18, 2013, with information relevant to the 2012 and 2013 tax years.

How Working in Australia Impacts Your US Expat Taxes

American citizens are obligated to file US expat taxes with the federal government each year. In addition to the regular income tax return, you could also be required to file an informational return on your assets held in foreign bank accounts. While the US is one of the few governments that taxes the international income of its citizens and permanent residents, it does have provisions to protect us from double taxation. These include the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, Foreign Tax Credit, and Foreign Housing Exclusion.

If you are an American living in Australia, you need to know how this will impact your US expat taxes. You will likely be required to file and pay taxes to the Australian Revenue Service. Living and working in Australia could alter your contributions to Social Security. It also may impact your eligibility for Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan. This short video will provide you with a glimpse of how being an American living in Australia will impact your US expat taxes. More detailed information can also be found in our Country-Specific Guide to Australia; click here to read it.

Do I need to file taxes if I’m living in Australia?

Yes! US citizens are required to file and pay US expat taxes on worldwide income. It does not matter if you have already paid taxes in Australia. You still must file US expat taxes.

Australian tax year and due date

  • Australia tax year – July 1 through June 30
  • Australia tax due date – “Lodge” your tax return by October 31. If you are hiring a registered tax agent, you must hire them by this date.
  • Remember: You must match your Aussie income and tax year to the tax year on your US expat taxes!

What rates can I expect in Australia as a resident?

Taxable income  — 2012-2013 Tax Rate

$0-$18,200 — Nil

$18,201 to $37,000 — 19 c for each $1 over $6,000

$37,001 to $80,000 — $3,572 plus 32.5 c for each $1 over $37,000

$80,001 to $180,000 — $17,547 plus 37 c for each $1 over $80,000

$180,001 and above — $54,547 plus 45 c for each $1 over $180,000

What rates can I expect as a non-resident?

Taxable income  — 2012-2013 Tax Rate

$0 to $80,000 — 32.5 c for each $1

$80,001 to $180,000 — $26,000 plus 37 c for each $1 over $80,000

$180,001 and above — $63,000 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

Australian Social Security

The US and Australia have a totalization agreement. What does that mean?

  • If you pay Australian Social Security, you do not pay US Social Security.
  • The same holds true for Australians living in the US.
  • Self-employed individuals can choose which Social Security system they want to pay into.

What is “Superannuation”?

  • It’s similar to a mandatory 401(k).
  • Employers must pay 9% of employee base wages. Employee contributions are voluntary.
  • Contributions are tax-deductible for Australian taxes, but are not deductible on US taxes.
  • You must reach the correct age to access your Supperannuation fund.

Is foreign income taxed in Australia?

  • If you are a resident, you must report and pay taxes on worldwide income. Like the United States, Australia has mechanisms in place to avoid dual taxation.
  • Non-residents must only report Australia-sourced income.

Other taxes in Australia

  • There is a goods and services tax (GST) in Australia.
  • The tax is a flat rate of 10% on most consumer goods. There are some exclusions.
  • Foreign business owners must register if there is more than $75,000 in receipts.
  • Tourists are able to receive a refunded GST up to one month prior to leaving the country.

Understanding your Australian and US tax obligations is important

We offer resources and services to help you:

For More Information On Your US Expat Taxes

A good place to start is our “US Expat Taxes Explained” series. If you have any more questions about your US expat taxes and their implications in Australia, or if you’d like to learn about our expat tax services, please contact us.

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