Well I must be particularly lucky because it is tax time again. Unfortunately I had to complete an Australian tax return in September and US taxes are due in mid April. Fortunately I have a little help with the US taxes, but here are a few things I didn't think about before I left Australia. This is probably only useful information for recent Aussie expats or those considering moving to the US from Australia:
- The US tax year is Jan - Dec, with returns due the following April. This can make it hard to get the relevant records about Australian income (which is taxable in the US).
- Australian superannuation is taxable in the US. That's right, even though you don't pay tax on it in Australia; you can't withdraw it when you go overseas and you'll probably never be able to get that tax back, every year that you're in the US you will need to declare Australian superannuation to the IRS and you will be taxed on it.
- Many relocation expenses will be taxable, including expenses incurred moving your stuff overseas. This can add up to many thousands of extra dollars of income that you have to pay tax on.
- US 'residents' in the tax sense of the word need to declare all foreign accounts to the treasury if the total in the accounts is more than $10,000. Even if you don't earn any income and the money has never been in the US, treasury wants to know about it. There are strict penalties (up to $100,000) for not providing the information.
- Australian residents can make the Australian side of their tax situation easier if they are intending to leave the country for more than 2 years. It is possible to declare yourself a non-resident for tax purposes and you just pay tax in Australia on Australian-sourced income (things like bank interest, etc.).