International money transfer regulations

International money transfer regulations

Information verified correct on December 11th, 2016

Sending money overseas? Make sure you’re aware of all the laws and regulations that could affect your international money transfer.

The rise of online banking technology and systems means that everyday Australians now have the power to transfer money all over the world. But with great power comes great responsibility, and it’s important to make sure you’re not breaking any laws or falling foul of any government agencies when you send money overseas.

From monitoring systems preventing global crime to the potential tax implications of moving money across international borders, there are a few important rules and regulations you should be aware of before sending an international money transfer. Read on to find out what you need to know.

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Rates last updated December 11th, 2016
Description Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction
Conditions apply
AUD 200 1 day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
Exclusive: World First Foreign Exchange
Exclusive: World First Foreign Exchange
Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee
Transfer money into a range of currencies online and over the phone.
AUD 500 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
Exclusive: CurrencyFair International Money Transfers
Exclusive: CurrencyFair International Money Transfers
Exclusive offer: 3 Free transfers (after your first transfer).
A peer-to-peer transfer service with a large range of currencies on offer.
EUR 8 2 days Online Go to site More
FC Exchange International Money Transfers
FC Exchange International Money Transfers
No transfer fee via online, branch or phone when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. GBP 3,000 1 day Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account Go to site More
Exclusive: OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
Exclusive: OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
Exclusive offer: Special exchange rates and $0 transfer fee
OFX is currently offering finder.com.au exclusive exchange rates and $0 transfer fee on all transfers.
AUD 250 1 day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
Currency Online International Money Transfers
Currency Online International Money Transfers
Enjoy regular scheduled transfers, one off transfers and a range of currencies. Also enjoy your first transfer for free. AUD 0 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
Compass Global Markets International Money Transfers
Compass Global Markets International Money Transfers
Send money in as little as 24-48 hours to a range of countries with Compass Global Markets. AUD 1,000 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
1st Contact International Money Transfer
1st Contact International Money Transfer
$0 online fee without any minimum limit on money transfers. AUD 0 2 days Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account Go to site More
Currency Solutions International Money Transfers
Currency Solutions International Money Transfers
Send money overseas for a range of reasons, including regular payments and buying overseas property. 97% Trustpilot score. AUD 3,000 2 days Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account Go to site More

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Transactions over $10,000

In recent years, governments around the world have started cracking down on global remittance services being used to fund criminal activities, most notably terrorism. With this in mind, the Australian Government monitors all overseas transfers of more than $10,000.

The monitoring is done by a regulatory body known as AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre), which collects data on all international transfers that exceed the $10,000 mark. Introduced under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, this tracking of large transactions is designed to ensure that Australia’s banking system isn’t used to fund criminal activities such as money laundering or terrorism.

What does this mean for you? Whenever you send or receive an international money transfer of more than $10,000 (or an equivalent amount in another currency), the bank or remittance provider that handles the transaction must supply details of the transfer to AUSTRAC. You may be asked to provide personal information, for example a valid form of photo ID, as evidence of the person completing the transaction. Failure to comply may result in your transaction request being rejected.

If you’re sending or receiving a transfer on behalf of a business or company, you may need to provide details of your employment. In some cases, you may be asked to supply information such as the business name, Australian Company Number (ACN), Australian Business Number (ABN) and/or the business address.

If you’re performing the transaction on behalf of another person who holds the account, the bank or transfer provider may already have all the necessary information about the account holder.

Any information you provide as part of this requirement will be handled by the transfer provider in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

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Restricted countries

Every money transfer provider has a list of countries it will let you send money to and those that it won’t. In some cases, a country is not available as a transfer destination simply because the provider does not have the necessary systems and legal clearances in place to transfer funds to that particular country.

However, some countries are not available as transfer destinations because there are diplomatic sanctions in place that make it illegal to transfer money to those countries from Australia. Some sanctions are imposed by the United Nations while others are Australian autonomous sanctions.

As an example, at the time of writing it is not possible to find a money transfer provider that can help you send funds to North Korea, Iran, Libya or Syria, among others.

Tax implications

Another factor worth considering when sending and receiving international money transfers is the tax implications that could come into play. When sending money overseas, you need to make sure you’re fully aware of any tax you may have to pay or declarations you need to make to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a result. For example, if you’re sending money overseas to take advantage of an investment opportunity, remember that all foreign investment income you earn must be reported to the ATO.

Following the global fallout of the Panama Papers Scandal in early 2016, the ATO and tax agencies around the world are also cracking down on funds held by Australians in undeclared offshore accounts. If you’re in any doubt about how sending money overseas could affect your tax bill, speak to your accountant as soon as possible.

When receiving an international money transfer, the source of the funds will need to be taken into account when considering tax implications. Not only will you need to declare all foreign income you earn, but in some cases you could be liable for Capital Gains Tax, for example if you receive an inheritance following the death of a relative.

Commonly asked questions about money transfer laws

I’m transferring $8,000 overseas. Will this amount need to be declared to AUSTRAC?

No. AUSTRAC only monitors overseas money transfers of $10,000 or more.

Where can I find out information about countries upon which sanctions are imposed?

You can find this information on the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

How can I find the most affordable way to transfer money overseas?

The best way to find a good transfer service is to compare international money transfer providers.

I just received a transfer of several thousands of dollars from an overseas relative and I’m not sure if I’ll owe any tax on this amount. What should I do?

The best thing to do is contact your accountant for expert advice. You may need to declare this as income.

Where can I go for more advice on international money transfer regulations?

You may be able to get the answers you’re looking for straight from your bank or money transfer provider. However, for specific advice tailored to your financial situation or individual transactions, ask your accountant.

Tim Falk

A freelance writer with a passion for the written word, Tim loves helping Australians find the right home loans and savings accounts. When he's not chained to a computer, Tim can usually be found exploring the great outdoors.

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TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction
Conditions apply

Exclusive: World First Foreign Exchange

Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee
Transfer money into a range of currencies online and over the phone.

Exclusive: CurrencyFair International Money Transfers

Exclusive offer: 3 Free transfers (after your first transfer).
A peer-to-peer transfer service with a large range of currencies on offer.

FC Exchange International Money Transfers

No transfer fee via online, branch or phone when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent.

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