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Departing Australia: A complex tax situation with possible benefits and hidden traps


With the globalisation of the Australian economy, large numbers of Australians will depart Australia to take up opportunities to work and live overseas. As such, the tax consequences are becoming more significant, involving complex issues of fact, residence and double tax agreements (DTAs). A person’s departure may also impact the tax treatment of entities that they are involved in and, as a result, the taxation of other stakeholders in the relevant entity. The focus of this article is on income tax and it addresses the essential legal issues to consider when a person moves overseas; however, there will be brief consideration of foreign law.

This article cuts through some of the complexity by placing some recent residence decisions in the context of longstanding authority and warns about the factual specificity of residence cases. Finally, it highlights the importance of DTAs and foreign law to practical tax outcomes.

Author profile

Nolan Sharkey
Dr. Nolan Sharkey is a Barrister at Francis Burt Chambers and Winthrop Professor of Law at the University Of Western Australia. He is also Professorial Fellow at Atax, UNSW in Sydney where he was based from 2000 to 2013. At Atax he delivered Masters units in international tax, DTAs, trust taxation and developed the first unit on Chinese tax outside of China. At UWA he teaches tax while at the bar he consults and advises on taxation. Nolan is widely published in leading journals. He is an FCA and holds degrees in law, accounting, Asian studies, psychology and tax. - Current at 15 April 2015
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