Australian expats and migrants who are NZ tax residents need to return overseas sourced income except if they qualify for transitional residency status (i.e. four-year foreign income exemption – find more information here).
Foreign employment and foreign personal services income are, however, two exemptions to the transitional residency rule. This means, if the Australian expat/migrant continues to get Australian employment or personal services income after arriving in the country, they may still need to return this income in their NZ income tax return.
Additionally, the NZ income tax treatment for foreign-sourced income can be different to the income tax treatment of NZ sourced income. The following are a few examples:
- Interest expense limitation on residential rental does not apply to Australian properties
- Australia superannuation withdrawal may be subject to the foreign superannuation withdrawal rules
- Foreign dividends may be taxed under the foreign investment fund rules. Note there may be an exemption for Australian shares.
- Foreign denominated loans may be subject to the financial arrangement rules
Suppose foreign income had been omitted in historic years. In that case, the return of foreign income to IRD for the relevant period may result in IRD imposing both uses of money interest and penalties.