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Aus Tax & Super Rules for Foreign Resident Employers

Foreign Resident Employers Australian Tax and Superannuation Obligations

In an ever-evolving global work landscape, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued pivotal guidelines for foreign resident employers. These guidelines are crucial in determining the intricate tax and superannuation responsibilities for employees who are remotely working from Australia. For foreign employers, navigating these obligations hinges on three key factors: the employee’s tax residency status, the origin of their employment income, and the intricate interplay of Double Tax Agreements in cases involving foreign residents. This guidance is an essential roadmap for foreign resident employers striving to adhere to Australian tax laws while managing a globally distributed workforce.

Mastering PAYG Withholding Tax for Effective Compliance

How Has COVID-19 Affected PAYG Withholding for Foreign Employers?

COVID-19 Response and PAYG Withholding Flexibility

During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) adapted its regulations to accommodate travel-related disruptions. Foreign resident employers weren’t required to register for PAYG withholding if their employees were in Australia solely due to COVID-related travel issues, provided they planned to depart by 30 June 2020.

Shift to Standard PAYG Requirements from July 2020

As the situation evolved post-30 June 2020, the ATO reinstated standard PAYG withholding obligations. From 1 July 2020, foreign resident employers needed to assess and comply with the usual PAYG withholding requirements for their employees’ employment income in Australia, aligning with the gradual global shift towards pandemic management.

What Are PAYG Withholding Rules for Foreign and Local Employers? 

PAYG Withholding for Australian Residents’ Employment Income

Under the PAYG withholding rules, if you are an employer in Australia, you’re required to withhold tax from various forms of employment income paid to Australian residents. This encompasses salaries, wages, allowances, bonuses, and even payments like holiday pay or severance packages. The comprehensiveness of these rules ensures that diverse income types are accounted for in tax withholdings.

PAYG Obligations for Foreign Resident Employers and Exceptions

For foreign resident employers, the PAYG withholding obligations also extend to the Australian-sourced income of their employees who are foreign residents, with an important exception for short-term visits. This exception provides relief in scenarios where the employment income might not be taxable in Australia. In such cases, as a foreign resident employer, you’re not required to withhold PAYG amounts. Understanding this distinction is crucial in ensuring compliance with Australian tax laws, especially in managing the payroll of employees who are foreign residents but earn income in Australia.

What Are Superannuation Requirements for Foreign Resident Employers?

In Australia’s unique employment landscape, foreign resident employers encounter specific obligations under the “Superannuation for Foreign Employers in Australia.” It’s essential for these employers to understand and comply with these superannuation requirements to avoid the “Super Guarantee Charge for Foreign Businesses,” a mandatory charge applied when superannuation obligations are not met.

Superannuation Obligations for Foreign Resident Employers:

Foreign resident employers are generally required to contribute to the superannuation funds of both Australian and foreign resident employees working in Australia. From 1 July 2022, this rule applies to employees earning a pre-tax income of less than $450 in a calendar month and are 18 years or older, regardless of how many hours they work. . 

The superannuation payment is paid in addition to the employee’s regular wages, emphasizing the commitment to ensuring financial security for their workforce in Australia.

Eligibility and Claims for Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP):

Eligible employees can claim their accumulated superannuation as a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) upon leaving the country, provided they meet all the necessary criteria. This process involves a final DASP tax being withheld when the payment is made, adhering to the Australian tax regulations.

For foreign resident employers, particularly those navigating through “Global Mobility Solutions for Employees working in Australia ,” understanding and adhering to these superannuation rules is crucial. It ensures not only compliance with Australian laws but also fosters a responsible and supportive work environment for their globally mobile workforce.

FBT Obligations Linked to PAYG Withholding Obligation 

In Australia, the tax landscape for businesses encompasses more than just the standard payroll deductions. This is particularly true for employers who meet certain criteria under “PAYG Withholding requirements” These businesses might find themselves navigating the complexities of “Australian FBT Obligations for Businesses,” especially when they provide certain non-wage benefits to their employees.

FBT Obligations and PAYG Withholding:

When employers are responsible for PAYG withholdings from their employees’ payments, they should also be aware of potential “Fringe Benefits Tax” (FBT) liabilities. This tax applies to various benefits that employers offer their employees, their families, or associates. These benefits can range from non-cash perks to substantial privileges that stand apart from, or even replace, regular salary or wages.

Understanding Employee Benefits and FBT:

The scope of FBT encompasses a wide range of employer-provided benefits. Whether it’s health insurance, company vehicles, or other non-monetary compensations, these perks are integral to FBT considerations. For businesses, comprehending the nuances of FBT is crucial. It’s not just about adhering to tax regulations; it’s about structuring employee compensation packages in a way that aligns with the Australian tax system’s requirements.

For employers, striking the right balance in their compensation strategy, keeping in line with FBT regulations, is essential. This ensures compliance with the law and maintains a transparent relationship with tax authorities.


In summary, the blog post provides an in-depth look at the PAYG withholding tax and superannuation obligations for foreign resident employers with Australian and foreign employees in Australia during and after COVID-19.  The post highlights the importance for foreign employers to understand the concept of the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and its connection with the  PAYG withholding tax reporting obligation, as well as the superannuation responsibilities. For foreign resident employers looking for expert advice on these complex tax matters, reaching out to a professional tax advisor is recommended for compliance and effective management of its global mobile employees.

For any enquiries related to this update, contact us today.

Shenny Yee

Shenny Yee, Tax Manager of Corporate & International Tax at Andersen Australia, leverages 15+ years of global experience in Singapore and Malaysia. She applies analytical skills to deliver tailored solutions in corporate tax, GST reporting, PE risks analysis, and more.

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