currency-1018220_1920Q: For the past year I have lived in Australia working under a 417 Visa.  I am returning to the UK at the end of the month.  I have accumulated Australian Superannuation from a range of temporary jobs.  Can I withdraw these funds as cash, transfer the funds to my National Insurance or is the money locked up in Australia?  I am age 30.

A: Temporary Australian residents who have accumulated Superannuation in Australia can withdraw their Superannuation as a lump sum provided they meet the following criteria;

  • they entered Australia on a temporary visa as noted under the Migration Act (with the exception of Visa subclass 405 and 410),
  • their Visa has expired,
  • they have departed Australia, and
  • they are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen nor an Australian Permanent resident.

If you satisfy the above criteria, you can make an application for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP). The form may be downloaded from the ATO website www.ato.gov.au (the form code is NAT 7204). The form must be sent to your Australian Superannuation fund with supporting documentation (visa or cancellation of visa and a certified copy of your passport) when you satisfy the criteria.  Your fund will make payment to you typically within 28 days of receiving all requirements.  Payments may be made by cheque, electronic funds transfer to an Australian bank account

If you wish to claim your super from more than one super fund, you must complete a separate application for each super fund.

If you have made personal contributions to the fund as after tax contributions, these amounts are tax free.  Employer and Salary sacrifice contributions are currently taxed at 38%.

It’s also worth noting that contained in legislation that is currently before parliament, should it become law, the above tax rate would increase to 95% for the taxed and untaxed elements of a DASP made on or after 1 July 2017. That is not a typo, 95% tax. So please be mindful of this possible change and the potential tax impacts of applying post 1 July 2017.

A warning, if you do not claim your super from your fund within six months of leaving Australia and your visa ceasing to be in effect, your Superannuation fund will be required to transfer the money to the ATO. The funds will be held on your behalf until you make an application to the ATO for a withdrawal of an ATO held Superannuation benefit.

If you are not sure where your Superannuation has been invested or where your employer paid contributions, enquire directly with your former employer or visit www.ato.gov.au and search under the ATO Superseeker or ATO held Superannuation section.

You will not be able to directly transfer or rollover your Australian superannuation benefits into your UK-based superannuation fund equivalent.