Leaving Australia? Does Your Super Leave with You?

leaving australia

If you are preparing to leave Australia for a variety of reasons such as career prospects, adventure or opportunities, you may be concerned about how to manage your financial affairs overseas and how to keep track of your finance.

Often on top of your checklist of things to do before leaving would be to determine what happens to your superannuation funds accumulated whilst working in Australia.

In these circumstances, any access to your superannuation funds mostly depends on your status of residency in Australia.

Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents leaving Australia permanently

If you are an Australian Citizen or a Permanent Resident at the time of leaving Australia, in most cases you cannot withdraw your superannuation.

The general rule is that your superannuation will be locked away same as other Australians living in Australia until you reach the required age under the rules (preservation age).

The preservation age varies between 55 to 60, depending on the year you were born.

Under the retirement rules, when you reach the preservation age, you may be entitled to access your superannuation funds. In these circumstances, your Super Fund usually requires a declaration from you to verify that you have in fact retired.

The exception to this rule is for the citizens of New Zealand who are now able to transfer their superannuation funds or retirement saving accounts under certain specific qualifications. The same applies to Australian citizens who wish to transfer their superannuation funds between New Zealand and Australia.

In the event you are leaving Australia to work for an Australian employer overseas, your employer may still be required to contribute to your super.

There are other grounds for release of Superannuation that may entitle you to have access to your superannuation funds as listed at the end of this article.

Temporary Resident Leaving Australia          

If you are a temporary resident leaving Australia on a permanent basis you may be entitled to take your superannuation funds or retirement saving account balance by applying for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).

However, under the regulations of the Australian Taxation Office, you will be eligible to apply for a DASP only under certain circumstances.

In order to be eligible for a DASP the regulations require that:

  • You entered Australia on a temporary visa listed under the Migration Act 1958 (excluding subclasses 405 and 410);
  • Your visa is no longer in effect;
  • You have departed Australia; and
  • You are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia.
Some Other Grounds for Release of Superannuation

Generally Australian citizens and permanent residents are not entitled to early access to their superannuation funds, regardless of whether they live in Australia or overseas.

However, your Super Fund may allow exceptions under certain circumstances such as:

  1. Severe Financial Hardship

If you are under substantial financial hardship, your super fund trustee may allow you early access to your superannuation funds.

If such release of superfunds is approved for reasons of financial hardship, the maximum amount released to you is $10,000 and you are allowed only one withdrawal from your superannuation funds in any 12 month period.

  1. Compassionate grounds

Some super funds may consider an application for early, partial or full release of your superannuation funds in circumstances that such release of funds would prevent your mortgagee bank to repossess your house; or when either you or a member of your family under your care is facing a permanent medical condition or disability.

There may be tax implications in respect to the monies released to you by your Super Fund, therefore you should always seek legal advice in this instance.

If you have any questions or require advice in relation to any matters related to your superannuation funds or self-managed superannuation funds in Australia please contact one of the friendly and experienced Wills & Estate Lawyers Sydney at Pavuk Legal.

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