Superannuation Benefits for Temporary Residents
When it comes to saving towards retirement, superannuation funds have become known as one of the most tax effective ways of ensuring a comfortable and secure retirement. Many people who are permanent residents in Australia not only benefit from their employers' mandatory contributions into a super fund but also boost their benefits by adding personal, voluntary contributions, which means that they are able to enjoy some great tax breaks and benefits that can help to boost their retirement pot.
Of course, it is not just permanent resident of Australia who benefit from superannuation benefits. Many people come to Australia on an eligible temporary resident visa and as temporary residents they are also able to build up superannuation benefits, which they may then claim. These benefits can be claimed by temporary residents once they have permanently departed the country.
Eligible former temporary residents of Australia
In order to determine whether you are an eligible former temporary resident of Australia, which is what you need to be in order to claim your superannuation benefits following departure, you should bear in mind the following:
- You need to have permanently left Australia in order to be considered an eligible former temporary resident of the country
- Your temporary visa must have either expired or have been cancelled in order to be classed as am eligible former temporary resident of Australia
Also bear in mind that you will not be classed as an eligible former temporary resident of Australia if the following applies:
- You are a citizen of New Zealand or Australia
- You are a permanent resident of New Zealand or Australia
- You still hold a valid temporary visa or you are the holder of a permanent visa
- You are the holder of a Subclass 405 (Investor Retirement) visa or Subclass 410 (Retirement) visa
Making your claim for super benefits
If you meet the eligibility criteria as a former temporary resident of Australia and you are looking to claim your superannuation benefits there are a couple of options open to you. The method of claiming that you choose will be determined by factors such as how long ago you permanently departed Australia. The methods that you can use to claim your superannuation benefits as a former temporary resident of Australia are as follows:
- Make your claim directly to the superfund. If it has been less than six months since you permanently departed Australia and you are looking to claim your superannuation benefits you can make a claim directly to the superfund. You can usually get the ball rolling by going online or by contacting the company by phone to start your claim
- Go through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO): If your superannuation benefits go unclaimed for more than six months after you permanently depart Australia your benefits will generally be transferred to the Australian Taxation Office and classed officially as unclaimed super. The Australian Taxation Office holds a database of unclaimed super so if it has been six months or more since you permanently left Australia you will need to go through the Australian Taxation Office. The ATO has a simple and easy to use facility known as SuperSeeker, which is designed to provide those with lost or unclaimed super with the details of the relevant accounts. You will then need to follow the process through in order to make your claim
If you are a former temporary resident then there is a chance that you may even have lost track of your super. If this is the case you can also use the SuperSeeker facility from the Australian Taxation Office. You will need to provide a few details in order to run the search and you can then be able to see a display with details of any lost super in your name.
If you do not wish to or are not able to go online to get details of your unclaimed or lost super as a former temporary resident you can opt to call the Australian Taxation Office (or your super fund if you left Australia less than six months ago) in order to enquire about your claim. However, going online to do this usually tends to be far quicker, more convenient, and of course cheaper, as you will be making your claim from another country.
It is also worth noting that if you left Australia more than six months ago and your unclaimed super has been transferred to the ATO, you will no longer be classed as an active member of that superfund and you will therefore no longer be receiving earnings on your investment. Any insurance cover that formed part of your membership to the superfund will also become invalid when the unclaimed benefit has been transferred over to the ATO.