To understand your tax situation you need to determine if you are an Australian or foreign resident for tax purposes. As an Australian tax resident your assessable income includes ordinary income derived from all sources, whether in or out of Australia, during the income year.  This can have significant implications.

Do you need to pay Tax?

The law imposes four separate and exhaustive tests for determining whether an individual is a resident of Australia for Australian income tax purposes:

1. ‘Resides’ test;

2. Domicile and permanent place of abode test;

3. 183 day test; and

4. Commonwealth superannuation fund test.

The issue of residency is largely a question of fact and degree. A broad range of factors are considered, including but not limited to:

  • physical presence in Australia;
  • nationality;
  • history of residence and movements;
  • habits and ‘mode of life’;
  • frequency, regularity and duration of visits to Australia;
  • purpose of visits to or absences from Australia;
  • family and business ties with Australia compared to the foreign country concerned; and
  • maintenance of a place of abode.

An individual can be held to be a resident of Australia, even though living permanently abroad, if they retain a continuity of association with Australia with an intention to return and an attitude that Australia remains home.

If your tax residency status is unclear it is prudent that you seek legal advice to ensure that you remain tax compliant in Australia and minimise your exposure to any potential penalties and interest. This applies regardless of whether you are an Australian citizen working overseas or a foreign citizen working in Australia. Your circumstances may also enable you to access concessions under various double taxation treaties.


If you require further information or advice in regards to your tax residency, please contact our team of lawyers at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry form today.