When you are working in Australia, you are entitled to receive super contributions from your employer on top of your salary. Superannuation is a long-term savings plan, which will provide workers with an income when they retire. Those contributions are paid by your employer during your employment. As a temporary resident in Australia, you are entitled to claim your super once you have left the country and after your visa has expired. Here is all you need to know about Superannuation and how to claim it.
What is Superannuation?
Superannuation is a way to save for retirement. When you are working in Australia, your employer must pay contributions into your super fund.
You are entitled to receive super contributions from an employer if you are at least 18 years old, and receive a salary of $450 or more (before tax) per month.
Since 2014, the super contributions paid by your employer must be 9.5% of your ordinary earnings. This money must be paid into an elected super fund. Usually employers will pay contributions every 3 months and not on a monthly basis.
You can chose to open an account with a superfund directly or ask your employer to open one for you. Please note that most banks, such as Westpac, Commonwealth, offer the possibility to open a Super Account for you when you open you bank account. Other companies such as Australian Super, SunSuper etc also offer super account.
Whether you are working full time, part time or casual, or if you’re a temporary resident of Australia, you are still entitled to receive super contributions.
When can I claim my superannuation back?
If you are a temporary resident working in Australia, your employer has to pay super guarantee contributions for you.
Usually people cannot have access to their super until retirement. However, as a temporary resident, you can claim your super when:
– You have left Australia AND
– Your visa has expired or has been cancelled.
The payment is called a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).
If you leave the country while your visa still active, you can either decide to wait until your visa expires or cancel your visa. You can request the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to cancel your visa so that you can claim a DASP. Cancelling your visa is a free process. You will need to complete the Form 1194 and lodge it directly with DIBP, either by mail to the address provided on the form, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Good to know: If you wish to return to Australia with another visa, you can contribute to a new fund. You can claim your super between two visas. The request for super only prohibits you to come back with the same visa under which you earned this super.
How to claim my super?
If you have opened your superfund through your bank, you should contact your superfund directly. They will tell you what document need to be provided for them to release the funds. Most of the time you will need to provide them with a copy of your expired visa together with a certified copy of your passport. You should do this claim as soon as possible. Indeed, if there is no activity on your super account for 6 months, your funds will be transferred to the ATO. Therefore you will need to claim your super through the ATO website.
Claiming your super is free. However, you cannot get the full amount of your superannuation back. A 65% tax will be deducted when you claim your superannuation. Also a management fee is often deducted.
To claim your super, you will need to visit the ATO website.
You will need to complete an online form on the ATO website.
When completing the form, you will need to provide:
- your name, date of birth and other personal details
- email address
- your passport number
- Australian tax file number (TFN)
- your super account details – including your super fund’s Australian business number (ABN) and your member number. These informations can be found online when accessing your super account.
Most of the time you will need to attach a certified copy of your visa, or any evidence showing that your visa has ceased to be in effect, together with a certified copy of your passport.
You can also choose how to receive payment of your super. It can be either by cheque or via an International money transfer to your financial institution overseas. Note here that if you require a money transfer to your bank overseas, you will be charge additional fees (transfer fees).
Once completed just lodge the form online.
The service standard for processing a DASP claim is 28 days from the date you lodged your complete application.
Hiring a tax agent
If you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, do not panic. You can hire a tax agent who will go through the process for you. They can also assist you in claiming your tax back before or at the end of the financial year. For example, if you are leaving the country in December, you do not have to wait until July to claim your tax back and can do it earlier, together with claiming your super.
Updated 1st July 2019 – Initially published on Nov 2016