Double-Taxation Agreements

Find out about tax legislation for foreign employees in Australia...

Despite the name, double-taxation agreements are designed to prevent you paying taxes twice. Under double-taxation agreements, certain foreign residents are exempt from paying Australian tax. Australia has double taxation agreements with many countries, including Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the US and Vietnam.

If part of your income is taxed in one of these countries, you won't be required to pay Australian tax on that income.

The Australian Treasury has more on Income Tax Treaties


Foreign employees working in Australia for Australian companies or organisations are subject to Australian tax on their earnings. However, if your stay is for less than six months, you're usually taxed at the (higher) rates applicable to non-residents, although double-taxation agreements contain articles dealing with directors, entertainers, government services, professors and teachers, which may alter this position. Income earned by residents from services performed overseas is exempt if you've been employed outside Australia for a continuous period of at least 91 days, provided the income has been taxed overseas.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to pay tax on part of your income in your home country and the remainder in Australia. Citizens of most countries are exempt from paying taxes in their home country when they spend a minimum period overseas, e.g. a year. One exception is citizens of the US.

American citizens can obtain a copy of a brochure entitled Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad from American embassies.

If you're in doubt about your tax liability in your home country, contact your embassy or consulate or your home country's tax office.

Extract from Living and Working in Australia (8th Edition - 2013) David Hampshire Published by Survival Books Ltd, Survival Books, P.O. Box 3780,Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 5WX, United Kingdom. Tel/Fax: (+44) 01935-700060 Copyright © Survival Books Ltd All Rights Reserved