Overseas Pension Transfers

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If you are wanting to transfer your retirement savings accumulated working overseas to Australia, it is important to first understand eligibility and rules surrounding overseas pension transfers. 

Depending on the rules of the foreign super fund, it may be possible for you to transfer the amount to an Australian super fund or directly to yourself.

Tax on transfer from FSFs

Not only do you need to abide by Australia’s laws and regulations, but also the overseas country where your fund is located.

Under the Australian tax law, the amount transferred from a Foreign Super Fund may be subject to tax.

Foreign Super Fund

Your first point of contact should be the overseas fund to determine if they will allow the transfer of benefits, and whether there are any tax implications or exit fees involved. 

Did you know individuals can only transfer funds from a foreign super fund (FSF) into their Australian superfund? 

Some international funds do not meet the definition of a FSF, which makes you unable to transfer the benefits to your Australian super fund. Before working abroad in a different country, it is important to make sure that the overseas fund you select is a FSF. 

A FSF to Australian super fund transfer is considered a member contribution, therefore there are conditions that must be met for eligibility of the transfer.

Conditions that must be met

A transfer is only possible between a foreign super fund and a complying Australian super fund if the following are met: 

Age limit

If you are 65 years old or older at the time of the transfer, you must meet the work test for your Australian super fund to accept the contribution.

To satisfy the ‘work test’, you must have worked for at least 40 hours within 30 consecutive days in one financial year.

If you are under 65 years old at the time of the transfer, your Australian super fund can accept the contribution regardless of your work circumstances. 

Your Australian super fund cannot accept a member contribution for you if you are aged 75 or older.

Tax File Number (TFN)

Regarding TFNs, your Australian super fund can only accept your foreign fund if you have:

Without a TFN, your Australian super will have to return the whole amount to your foreign fund.

Fund-capped contribution limit

A fund-capped contribution limit is usually the largest contribution amount your fund can accept. 


In the circumstance that your Australian super fund receives a transfer from your foreign fund which is more than your fund-capped contribution limit, the Australian fund would have to return the excess amount to the foreign super fund within 30 days.

This rule is in place to prevent you from exceeding your non-concessional contributions cap.

Also, you cannot claim a personal superannuation deduction when it comes to transfers from foreign funds.

For more information on non-concessional contributions, click here

Under the Trans-Tasman retirement savings portability scheme, special rules apply for clients transferring super between an Australian super fund (regulated by APRA) and a New Zealand KiwiSaver Scheme.

If you would like some financial advice on this matter, contact Wagtail Wealth today.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This information is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, goals and objectives. Therefore, you should consider its appropriateness for your circumstances before acting on this information.

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