If you have assessable income from overseas, you must declare it in your Australian income tax return. If you have paid foreign tax in another country, you may be entitled to an Australian foreign income tax offset, which provides relief from double taxation.

You can claim a tax offset for the foreign tax you have paid on income, profits or gains (including gains of a capital nature), that are included in your Australian assessable income. In some circumstances, the offset is subject to a limit.

To be entitled to a foreign income tax offset:

•  you must have actually paid, or be deemed to have paid, an amount of foreign income tax
•  the income or gain on which you paid foreign income tax must be included in your assessable income for Australian income tax purposes.

Differences between the Australian and foreign tax systems may lead to your paying foreign income tax in a different income year from that in which the income or gain is included in your assessable income for Australian income tax purposes. You could have paid the foreign tax in an earlier or later income year. However, the offset can only be claimed after the foreign tax is paid.

If you paid foreign income tax after the year in which the related income or gains have been included in your Australian tax return, you can claim the offset by requesting an amended assessment for that year. You have up to four years to request an amendment to your assessment from the date you paid the foreign income tax. You should also request an amendment if there is an increase or reduction in the amount of foreign income tax you paid that counts towards the offset.

The foreign income tax offset applies to foreign income tax imposed on all forms of income, profits and gains, (including gains of a capital nature) and to all taxpayers, whether individuals or other entity types.

Note that:

•  while the offset mainly applies to Australian resident taxpayers, in the limited circumstances where the foreign income of a foreign person or non-resident is taxed as assessable income in Australia, they may be able to claim the offset
•  in very limited circumstances, foreign tax imposed on Australian source income may count towards a foreign income tax offset.

If you would like to know more about the foreign income tax offset for you individual tax return or other accounting enquiries please contact The Quinn Group. Our experienced team of Tax Accountants, Tax Agents and Tax Lawyers will be able to assist you with your queries, submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) to book an appointment.