Legal and tax requirements for transferring large sums of money into Australia

What you should know about the tax implications when transferring money from overseas.

Promoted

TorFX Offer

TorFX Offer logo
  • No transfer fees
  • Price match guarantee
  • Dedicated account manager assigned to you
  • Forex tools available
Go to site

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Transferring your life savings ahead of immigrating, funding a business opportunity or inheriting money from family abroad? Whatever your reasons for sending money to Australia, there’s a lot to consider.

You can’t avoid the laws and legal paperwork that go along with transferring large amounts of money, so before you move your cash to Australia, familiarise yourself with these laws and regulations.

Do I have to report large transfers into Australia?

No matter where you’re from, if you’re receiving more than $10,000 or a foreign currency equivalent, you’ll need to abide by Australian laws put in place to both protect your money and protect the interests of the government.

Any amount of money transferred into Australia as an international funds transfer instruction (IFTI) must have an IFTI-E report submitted within 10 business days.

The monitoring is done by regulatory body AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre), which collects data on all cash transfers that exceed $10,000. This is to help prevent money laundering or terrorism.

Money transfer businesses, which often solely send money between countries, sometimes have reporting thresholds as low as $1,000.

Australian law requires banks and money transfer companies to report personal, identifiable information, which can include the following:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • The name and contact information of the person who sent you the money.
  • If it’s a bank transfer, the financial details of the recipient, including SWIFT code.
  • Your banking details, including your bank account number.
  • The amount you received.
  • If you’re sending money on behalf of a company, details of the business, including your employment and its Australian Business Number (ABN).

Tax implications

If someone is planning to send a large sum of money to you in Australia, you could be on the hook for taxes regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), depending on the reason why they are sending it to you.

When might I need to pay taxes?

You'll usually need to pay taxes when you transfer large amounts of money into Australia if it's come from:

  • Property investments. Payment received via money transfer from rental properties or property sales will be required to be reported as foreign investment income.
  • Your business. You are obligated to pay tax on the income generated from your overseas business.
  • Employment income. The money you earn as an employee overseas will be taxed regardless of your status as full-time, part-time, or other.
  • Pension or superannuation. Funds received as an overseas pension or superannuation are subjected to tax and need to be declared on your tax return.

However, if you have already paid tax to the foreign country associated with your income, you may be eligible for tax offsets depending on whether Australia has a tax treaty with that country.

Tax-free money transfers

There are cases for bringing money into the country without paying tax. The following large money transfers generally aren’t subjected to Australia’s tax:

  • One-time gift. Money transfers that are seen as one-off gifts or rewards aren’t taxed, but there are instances where they can be. This includes if the gift money is part of a business-like activity or if it’s related to how you earn income. If you decide to invest this gift money, the income it generates can be taxed.
  • Inheritance. If you’re a beneficiary, you won’t need to pay taxes on the inheritance money you receive from abroad. If you chose to invest this money, the interest may be taxable and should be reported on your tax.
  • Money you bring with you if you’re moving to Australia for the first time. If it’s more than AUD$10,000 or a foreign equivalent, you’ll still need to declare it to customs.

As long as you’ve attended to any local tax responsibilities in your home country, these kinds of money transfers won’t have any tax requirements.

If you’re concerned about coming into possession of a large sum of money or property, speak to a tax professional to make sure you comply with Australia's taxation regulations.

Bringing money into Australia

There are two types of money you can bring into Australia: physical cash and bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs). There is no limit to the amount of money you can bring into Australia. However, if the combined value of cash in the local or foreign currency you are carrying is equivalent to $10,000 or over, it needs to be declared.

Physical currency can be declared when you enter Australia at the international airport or seaport. The declaration form only needs to be completed when the total cash value you bring into Australia exceeds $9,999 - not counting BNIs.

BNIs are non-cash forms of money and include cheques, bearer bonds and money orders. Money items without an assigned value or a specified payee (like blank cheques) are also considered BNIs. You only need to declare these if it is requested by customs.

Beware of the rules applied to carrying money into Australia. You could face penalties if you are seen violating them:

  • Children are not exempt from requiring to declare money when necessary.
  • Travellers are allowed to carry money for someone else, but this must be declared. Personal information and details of who they are transporting the money for needs to be reported.
  • Splitting up a large amount across individuals within a group to avoid the $10,000 cap, or 'structuring', is illegal.

What are the penalties for not declaring a large remittance?

If your loved ones in Australia receive a large money transfer that's not exempt from the gift tax and choose not to pay the tax, they risk fines and other penalties. More serious consequences include criminal convictions and even prison sentences.

Criminal convictions can affect your employment and ability to travel outside the country. Encourage your friends and family to report any large money transfers on their annual tax returns to the Australian Taxation Office. Or ask them to speak to a tax professional for guidance.

  • Record everything. Large money transfers that may be subjected to tax will be reviewed. The best way to protect yourself from legal issues is by providing records of each transaction to prove the source of your money.
  • Seek professional advice.To avoid the severe penalties that come with a failure to report large sums of money being brought into the country, speak with a professional to guarantee that everything is above board and complies with the laws of all countries involved.

What should I expect when transferring money to Australia?

Sending money through a bank or money transfer specialist makes for easy, convenient bank deposits or cash pickups. In general, you may need to provide photo ID or a transaction number to receive your money transfer in person.

If you already have an account with the bank or money transfer company, you may not need to provide ID each time you receive money. However, online money transfers may have stricter rules when it comes to proof of ID, and they could ask for additional documentation or ask you to verify your identity by phone.

As with all international money transfers, be wary of potential fraud and only send money to people you know. Using a reputable provider can safeguard you from potential scams.

To get started, take a look at our table below to compare providers and find which one is most suitable for your needs.

Services that can help with large transfers

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 0 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.71 USD
7,101
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries. Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.713 USD
7,126
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.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 0.00 0.712 USD
7,121
New customers get their first transaction for free with code FIRSTFREE. T&Cs apply.
Send money in minutes at competitive exchange rates with this Australian money transfer service.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.712 USD
7,123
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.712 USD
7,121
Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 0.00 0.712 USD
7,116
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 0.707 USD
7,063
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 45.00 0.712 USD
7,090
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.714 USD
7,108
Exclusive: New customers sending over 500 AUD from Australia use code FINDER50 to get 50 AUD off. Pay zero fees on your first transaction. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 52.00 0.712 USD
7,079
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
AUD 10 Within an hour AUD 2.99 0.707 USD
7,071
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.712 USD
7,121
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

DISCLAIMER: This article is general advice. It does not consider your own personal circumstances and may not be applicable to you. You should obtain professional advice and consider your own situation before acting on anything contained in our article.


Questions you may have about large transfers

More guides on Finder

International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Azimo International Money Transfers
Azimo International Money Transfers

Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.

Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

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.

Logo for MasterRemit International Money Transfers
MasterRemit International Money Transfers

New customers get their first transaction for free with code FIRSTFREE. T&Cs apply.
Send money in minutes at competitive exchange rates with this Australian money transfer service.

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

14 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JamesJuly 19, 2019

    Hi, I just moved to Australia 3 years ago. I had a house back home which I sold a little over a year ago. Now I want to transfer the money over to Australia to buy a house here. Will I be charged for taxes as I paid the tax when I sold the house? What should I do to avoid a problem with this transfer? Thanks

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiJuly 20, 2019

      Hi James,

      Thanks for your question. Transferring large amounts of money anywhere in the world needs to be filed accordingly and within laws and regulations of the country concerned. Also, the tax for selling the house is different and separate from the tax for transferring money. Before you proceed with the transfer, prepare the required documents as stated on our page and seek assistance from a tax expert to ensure your transfer will not attract further fees and charges.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    MichelleJune 26, 2019

    Is a stamp document required when receiving money from overseas?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJune 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      It is not a requirement specially if it’s transferred to your bank account. If via money transfer company, the remittance network provider is responsible for reporting the electronic funds transfer instruction (IFTIs) on behalf of its affiliates.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    AlanMay 24, 2019

    Dear finder,

    My mum is planning on sending some money to me as a gift from the UK. This may need to come in two separate transactions but both will be in excess of the 10,000 threshold. Would this break the ‘one time gift’ rule?
    Thanks

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiMay 25, 2019

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      As it says on our page for money transfers sent as a gift. It should be a One-time gift meaning it must be sent once.

      Money transfers that are seen as one-off gifts or rewards aren’t taxed, but there are instances where they can be. This includes if the gift money is part of a business-like activity or if it’s related to how you earn income. If you decide to invest this gift money, the income it generates can be taxed.

      I hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    RayMay 18, 2019

    I moved from the UK to Australia 20 years ago and I’ve had a savings account there with AUD58,000. How do I declare it? Do I need to declare it? It lost a lot of its equivalent value since I moved here.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiMay 19, 2019Staff

      Hi Ray,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      If you are planning to transfer the money from UK to Australia amounting to 58,000 AUD, yes you need to declare the amount to avoid severe penalties that come with a failure to report large sums of money being brought into the country.

      Please coordinate with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre to report the incoming amount. If you need professional assistance, you can speak to an FX expert by filling out the online form found on this page.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

    Default Gravatar
    SyedApril 5, 2019

    My father-in-law wants to send a large sum of money from overseas to his daughter’s (my wife) Australian Bank Account. He wants to gift the money so that we can buy a house in Australia without going through a mortgage or paying any interest to the banks to buy a house to live in. Me & my wife both work full time & pay our taxes every year. At the moment we live in a rental & are looking forward to this option where we can buy a house outright without paying interest. My questions:-
    1. Any restrictions (as in, restrictions from ATO or Banks) if my father-in-law wants to send around $500k AUD to his daughter’s bank account
    2. Does any one have to provide any paperwork about the large sum being transferred from overseas bank account to a Australian bank account.
    3. Do we have to pay tax on the amount we receive in our bank account from overseas?

    My understanding is that, since my father-in-law has worked all his life and saved money & wants to gift that money to his daughter so that she can buy a house to live with her husband & kids, there shouldn’t be any problems as such. But I just wanted to get a clear & legal answer before we can go down this path.
    Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnApril 8, 2019Staff

      Hi Syed,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      As long as you go through a legitimate money transfer provider, you won’t need to provide any extra paperwork. The main legal considerations when sending large sums of money are the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws, but your money transfer provider will look after the necessary documents when you submit your identification for processing.

      As a good rule of thumb, keep all records and emails relating to the transfer in case you need them later.Money transfers that are seen as one-off gifts or rewards aren’t taxed, but there are instances where they can be. This includes if the gift money is part of a business-like activity or if it’s related to how you earn income. If you decide to invest this gift money, the income it generates can be taxed. It would be best to consult a tax specialist for guidance. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

Go to site