How do I get my superannuation back when I leave Australia for good?

When you leave Australia permanently you can apply for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP). This can be done online free of charge, or you can choose to lodge a paper application. If you choose the latter, you will be charged a fee.

The Australian Taxation Office is the government body in charge of processing “super” payment applications. The Office works closely with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This is because applicants have to meet two basic prerequisites before they can get their super back: their visas period must have concluded and applicants must have left Australia.

You can apply for your refund online here. 

Your online application can be saved until you are ready to lodge it. The Australian Taxation Office will be able to verify your immigration status and whether you have left Australia. All you need to do is to make sure that the information you provide is accurate, including your tax file number and the information about your super fund.

On the other hand, if you decide to lodge a paper application, you will also need to lodge a separate  “Certification of Immigration Status and/or Request to Cancel a Temporary Visa” with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (Form 1194). This will cost you money and will likely delay your refund.

As far as supporting documents go, there are a couple of points for you to consider, if you decide to lodge a paper application:

First, if your total claim is AUD5,000 or more, your super fund will require that you submit a certified copy of your visa and passport, showing your photo, identifying the pages or your passport and departure stamps. If your claim is less than that amount, you will be allowed to provide a regular copy of your passport showing that you left Australia, and one of the following documents: a copy of the original letter showing that you were granted a visa, a copy of your visa label or a visa cancellation advice letter.

Secondly, if your visa is still valid, you will need to request its cancellation. This is done by completing Part C of Form 1194. You and your super fund will be notified when your visa is cancelled and the process is completed. Only then the Taxation Office will pay you super. The process is finally completed!

One last important detail that you should bear in mind is the tax implication of getting your super back. Remember that even though you will leave Australia for good, you will be still required to file your income tax the following year after you leave. This means that you will likely need to report the lump sum you will get paid.

If you are or were on a working holiday visa, recently announced changes are now in effect. If your DASP was processed on 1 July 2017 or after that date, your super refund will be taxed at a rate of 65%. If your super refund was processed before 1 July 2017, your refund will be taxed at a rate of 38%. If you’re on any other visa this will not affect your payment and your super refund will be taxed at 38%.

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