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International Retirement Funds

International Pension Funds - An Alternative to Superannuation?

Superannuation within Australia provides a tax effective environment for retirement savings. However, it provides a low tax environment only within an Australian context - with both contributions and earnings (until retirement) still attracting tax. Depending upon your personal circumstances, including the host country in which you are located, whether you intend to pursue a long term expatriate career, your remuneration levels and your retirement plans - it may be beneficial for you, and your employer, to consider participation in an International Retirement Plan.

The benefits of participation in an International Retirement Plan typically include:

  • Investment earnings being generated in a low, or no tax, regime.
  • Portability, with expatriates potentially having the ability to remain members of a single fund throughout their working life in a variety of offshore locations.
  • The flexibility to allow the expatriate to choose their own investment funds, or for an employer to appoint an investment manager.
  • Relatively simple, outsourced,online administration for employers which still allows them to determine vesting and retirement guidelines.

Before deciding to pursue such an option - whether as a substitute for Australian superannuation or as a "top up" in addition to contributing to those funds - you must receive professional advice to ensure that there is an appropriate fit for your circumstances.

If you ask why participation in these structures might be preferred to simply maintaining an overseas investment account, there are a number of tax planning advantages associated with foreign superannuation funds. If the superannuation fund is properly established then on return to Australia the member's benefits can remain offshore and continue to grow with eventual taxation on a reduced basis consistent with Australian superannuation. However, these structures are relatively complex to establish and maintain and consequently the fund balances will typically need to be substantial to offset these additional costs.

We would stress that this is a complex area that absolutely requires expert professional advice prior to any participation to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that arrangements are tax effective.

If you would like to arrange professional advice please complete the Inquiry form below providing details and you will be contacted promptly. You will receive a fee quotation in advance of any advice or services being provided.