Banking, Money and Taxes in Australia

Australia is a major regional financial hub with a sophisticated banking system, and expats will find there is plenty of professional support available when it comes to educating oneself about and understanding different aspects of financial management in the country.  

Money in Australia

The Australian Dollar (AUD or $A) is the official currency in Australia and is divided into 100 cents. Within Australia, expats will see currency simply abbreviated as $, though this isn’t to be confused with the USD.

  • Notes: 5 AUD, 10 AUD, 20 AUD, 50 AUD and 100 AUD

  • Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents; 1 AUD and 2 AUD 

Both cash and credit/debit cards are readily accepted in most places in Australia. Furthermore, ATMs are ubiquitous; with all services available in English. 

Banking in Australia

Expats wanting to open a bank account in Australia should always investigate all available options, particularly as interest rates can vary between one bank and another. Australia’s major banks are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank.

As banks are always keen to attract new customers, most have a wide range of services and are keen to provide assistance to expats. Opening a bank account in Australia is a fairly straightforward procedure as long as expats ensure they bring along all the required documentation.

Taxes in Australia

Moving to Australia temporarily for work or to live there permanently means that at some point expats will encounter the Australian Tax Office. Expats will be classified as either a temporary resident, a permanent resident or a non-resident for tax purposes.

Australia uses a progressive tax system and the amount of tax paid depends on how much an individual earns. Aside from income tax, expats may also be required to pay the Medicare levy.

As tax can be a complex issue, it is recommended that expats consult a tax advisor, preferably one that has experience working with foreigners paying tax in Australia.

Matt Zhou

Matt Zhou is the international tax specialist Partner at Bates Cosgrave, a professional services firm that is based in Sydney Australia. Matt’s expertise in cross-border tax arrangements is extensive:  he has worked with expat professionals and organisations in a variety of industries from across the world, both coming into Australia as well as Australians heading overseas.

Bates Cosgrave has worked with senior professionals such as executives, doctors, engineers, consultants and other professionals to get them ready for their move, including:

•    Pre-arrival tax planning
•    Cross border tax strategies
•    Remuneration strategies such as LAFHA, home packaging and exit strategy

We also work with corporate organisations to design taxation structures for employees who are moving within their organisation to an overseas destination.
Bates Cosgrave has an extensive team of specialists and expertise to draw on for implementation and maintenance of these strategies, and we provide a holistic, value-added service across tax, accounting and consulting for business and individuals.

For more information about what we do, visit our website or follow Bates Cosgrave on Twitter.

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