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Transferring Money into Australia

Hello Everyone,

There is a great Choice article about transferring money overseas and discussing the best way to save money by @andykollmorgen. I am assuming the same recommendations apply if I were to send money I earned overseas to me in Australia. Is that true?

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Same recommendations certainly apply. Avoid banks when transferring money overseas wherever you transfer it from.

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Country dependent some deposit holding financial institutions are only marginally more expensive and easier to access since they already hold the funds. The main ‘gotcha’ is getting the funds to your transfer account in a timely manner and ‘your account’ often needs to be in the sending country. Using OFX as example I have an Australian account, but if I want to send $USD located in the US here I need to make a separate US account.

This finder page might be helpful although it is outbound oriented (updated 2021).

In my experience some foreign banks offer xrates not too far above the services and others are predatory, and as a general rule one gets a better xrate ‘there’ than here so always be sure the funds get to Australia as $AUD. Foreign bank rates from $[X] to $AUD are often 3-5% better than our banks offer not counting the services…

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Thank you both for your help. Much appreciated.

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Thanks for your detailed response. Do you therefore have a bank account in an overseas country and then transfer the money between the overseas bank and the an Australian bank using OFX (for example)?

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When I investigated a service getting funds to it timely was problematic since my account is with an investment house not a bank. The investment house offers good xrates not too far above the services and I can ring them and organise a wire in $AUD, all transfer details being on file.

For most the issues can be the requirement for a OTP to authorise an EFT, such as one to to a service, requiring a country local mobile number attached to the (eg) US account. That is not a requirement for a wire with mine. Depending on your tax registrations you could get tripped up in money laundering suspicion or having to file (eg) US taxes if you earn money in the US whether or not you actually owe anything, or just withholding (PAYG) that you cannot recover.

Working overseas can be an interesting experience, country dependent, whether or not moving money ‘home’ because of tax regimes.

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Thanks for your reply. I have been asking for my daughter who is an author and will be getting money from overseas for her books. We decided she should go see an accountant who specialises in such things.

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If she was living and working in the foreign country it would be straight forward.

Depending on whether the amounts are in the $100s, $1,000s, $10,000s, or more per annum the best solution could be different.

Step one is to ask what options the publisher might offer for payment. Most deal with international authors so the issue should not be new to them. As for the ATO, so long as foreign income is declared and tax paid (they give credit for foreign taxes paid in most circumstances) they are ‘happy’. From experience they ‘see’ regular or large forex movements and will send a letter to ‘please explain’, at least the first time or first year until it is declared on a tax filing.

One of my ICT staff (!!) was also an internationally acclaimed author who got high 5 figures per annum in royalties from the US. He regularly commented about the IRS and ATO having their hands out. I never asked how he moved currency.

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I would have suggested she signs up with https://wise.com/au . They offer a free business account where your daughter can receive overseas payments and transfer the money to Australia. They gave great rates. My parents live in Germany and they regularly transfer money to my German Wise account and I then transfer it to my Australian Wise account. Cheaper and more convenient than anything else I’ve seen so far. They offer free accounts in a large number of countries.