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Inheriting money from overseas

Your options for transferring an inheritance to Australia.

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If you are inheriting money from overseas you need to know how to transfer it to Australia, but also what tax implications there may be. The good news is that, unless otherwise stated, you don't need to pay tax when receiving inheritance money from abroad. So it's more a case of choosing the right method for you in order to keep your transfer costs as low as possible.

Options for transferring an inheritance to Australia

Bank cheques and bank transfers are the most common ways to inherit money from overseas. But there are newer options such as using an international money provider or a foreign currency account which can reduce your money transfer costs.

International money transfer service

One of the easiest ways to transfer money from overseas is using an international money transfer service. These specialist companies often provide a better exchange rate than your local bank and charge lower fees. Specialist providers such as TorFX and OFX have the potential to save you thousands of dollars if you're moving a large amount.

With most, you can set up a free account. Then you will be able to input your transfer details and see what rate and fees you will be charged. As with anything, it is best to compare a few quotes to make sure you are getting the best deal for you.

Foreign currency account

Another option is to open a foreign currency - or borderless account - and transfer the funds there. For example, Wise has a multi currency account that offers competitive exchange rates and low fees. These types of accounts often allow you to transfer money from one currency to another at a click of a button, as well as spend in your local currency with your card and set up direct debits with supported territories to pay bills and subscriptions.

The main downside we found with Wise is they charge a holding fee above a certain limit. For example, if you transfer £50,000, they will charge a 1.6% annual fee on any amount above £13,000. You'll need to move quickly to save on fees.

Bank transfer

Alternatively, you could arrange for the estate executor to deposit your inheritance directly into your Australian bank account. This is a quicker process than waiting for a cheque to clear. But the money transfer will still be subject to the bank's fees and exchange rate which typically cost more than using a specialist international money transfer service.

Bank cheque

Most of the time, when you inherit money from overseas, the estate will give you a bank cheque that you can deposit in your Australian bank account. The cheque should be made out in the foreign currency and will be subject to the exchange rate your bank offers when you deposit the cheque - which is not always the best on the market. It's also worth being aware that a bank cheque will take a long time to clear, so there are faster transfer methods available.

Which international money transfer company should I use?

Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
1 - 25 of 25
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Xe Large Transfers
24 hours
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
Revolut
Within minutes
$0
Send money with great rates and low fees in 30+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Instarem
Within minutes
From 0%
50% off first transaction fee from any country in APAC (outside India).
Minimum transfer of $250 and max transfer of $500,000
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within minutes
From $0.99
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Rocket Remit
Within minutes
From $0 to $5
Send money instantly to friends and family in over 45 countries using just your mobile number.
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $1.99
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
SingX
Within minutes
From 0.5%
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
CurrencyFair
Within minutes
€3
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
Send Payments
24 hours
$0
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
MasterRemit
Within minutes
From $0
Get your 1st and 2nd money transfer for free with promo codes FIRSTFREE and MASTERFINDER!.
Send money in minutes at competitive exchange rates to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Western Union
Within minutes
From $0
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
Qantas Business Money
Within minutes
$0
Limited time offer: Earn up to 125,000 bonus Qantas Points as a first-time converter. Ends 30 April 2024. Conversion limits and T&Cs apply.
Set up accounts in 11 different currencies and get rewarded for global business payments by earning Qantas Points.
Airwallex
Within minutes
$0
Streamline global payments in 60+ currencies. Send & receive securely in 150+ countries, with fast settlements & competitive rates. Simplify book-keeping & manage everything in one place.
TorFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
OFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
WorldFirst
24 hours
From $0
Open bank accounts in Australia, the UK, US, Canada, Japan and Europe. Send and receive funds with zero fees for large sums, including same-currency supplier payments.
Send business
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
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Finder survey: Would Australians be happy to pay a tax on their inheritence?

Response
No84.86%
Yes15.14%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1004 Australians, December 2023

Is inherited money taxable in Australia?

In Australia, you don't need to pay tax on inheritance. An overseas inheritance is not taxable unless you are advised by the executor that a part of it is. If that is the case, it's advisable to seek professional tax advice.

There are cases where the estate could continue to make an income after the individual's death from the asset sale capital gains or interest accrued on savings accounts. So there may be some capital gains tax liability in these circumstances. Similarly, if you decide to invest your inheritance, you may be required to pay tax on any capital gains under Australia's Capital Gains Tax (CGT) laws.

If you are in any doubt at all, it is best to talk to a professional tax advisor to understand your tax obligations.

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