Q: I was born in Fiji but have lived in Australia for the past 33 years. I am planning on moving back to Fiji permanently. Can I withdraw my Australian Superannuation and take it with me? I am 52 years old. What tax would I pay?
A: Even though you will be departing Australia permanently, you will be ineligible to withdraw your Superannuation as you will not satisfy a Superannuation condition of release and you have not reached your preservation age. Preservation age for those born after 1 July 1964 is age 60.
Access to Superannuation benefits before preservation age for those permanently departing Australia, is limited to those who are temporary resident visa holders only. Given you were an adult, being over 18 when you arrived in Australia, I assume you are an Australian Permanent Resident.
Australian citizens and permanent residents are obliged to retain their Australian Superannuation until they reach preservation age or satisfy another condition of release. Revocation of Citizenship or Permanent Residency would not change this outcome and your funds would be obliged to be preserved until your circumstances changed.
To be eligible to access all of your Superannuation funds, the range of conditions of release for Superannuation include; reaching age 65, retirement after attaining your preservation age and ceasing gainful employment with the intention never to return to gainful employment on a part-time or full-time basis, or be assessed as Permanently Disabled or be Terminally ill.
You may be able to access a portion of your funds on compassionate grounds (as determined by the Department of Human Services) or if you were deemed to be suffering Financial Hardship having been on income support payments for at least 26 weeks.
If you had been a temporary resident visa holder, you would be able to apply for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) on declaring your permanent departure from Australia. DASP is taxed at 35% on the Taxable Component of the Superannuation benefit. Please note for those on a working holiday visa (417) and (462) the tax rate on withdrawal is 65%. The tax-free component of your Superannuation fund is tax exempt.
Until you either reach age 65 or satisfy an alternative condition of release as described, you will be unable to access your Australian Superannuation funds until those conditions are met.