There are very few places in Australia where you can "survive", particularly as a family, without a car. Unfortunately, they are an expensive necessity, and we find most Australian expats, migrants and temporary residents either buy a new or used car within weeks of arriving in Australia. Some arrange for the car to be available at the airport on their arrival!
There have been some recent indications that the ATO is more actively challenging individuals who claim to be non-resident for tax purposes. In particular, many Australians working in zero tax regimes, such as the Middle East, have recently received assessments based on the ATO's assertion that they have remained resident for Australian tax purposes.
We are not going to pretend that our recent poll, asking you to choose between Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka as retirement detinations will bear scientific scrutiny. However, it does suggest that Thailand is very much the favoured destination for Australian retirees into Asia - receiving 55% of all the votes.
We now have a Federal election scheduled for Saturday, September 7, 2013 and unfortunately the rules and regulations surrounding voting overseas continue to make it difficult or impossible for Australians to maintain their ability to vote. This is completely contrary to the position regarding tax residency, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape the clutches of the ATO.
We seem to have a Government as present which, when faced with a fork in the road always decides to take the "wrong one". Consequently, facing a Budget blow out of very significant proportions (too much spending and too little "mining tax" revenue") they decided to focus of the "Cookie Jar", which is every right minded politician's view of superannuation.
Despite the AUD being at 4 month lows amongst most major currencies as this article is written, Sterling has continued it's poor performance against the Australian dollar into 2013 and is at nearly 30 year lows. The chart below shows monthly average exchange rates over the last 20 years - with the AUD continuing to trend well above the long-term "average" rate.
Our last news blog focused on how to survive the high Australian dollar. That became a little less relevant this week when the international financial crises - and we do mean plural, because we're talking about the US and Europe - severely buffeted both the Australian dollar and the local sharemarket.
Over three years ago the current Australian Federal Government decided to withdraw the tax exemption available under section 23AG of the Tax Act in relation to the income earned by Australian residents overseas, if they met certain conditions. It was a monumentally stupid thing to do, and that remains the case.