Owning Property in Australia as a Foreign Resident

Owning Property in Australia as a Foreign Resident

“Know what you own, and know why you own it” ― Peter Lynch

3 min read

Australian Property in Australia

Owning Property in Australia as a Foreign Resident

“Know what you own, and know why you own it” ― Peter Lynch

3 min read

Owning property in Australia as a foreign resident can be a complex but rewarding venture. It requires careful planning and consideration of various factors. Whether you are an expatriate who intends to eventually return to Australia or a non-resident investor, there are certain tax implications, and financial aspects involved of which it is important to be aware.

A Great Investment Opportunity?

Property ownership in Australia can be a lucrative long-term investment. The Australian real estate market has demonstrated consistent growth over the years, and for many expats, renting out their Australian property can serve as an invaluable source of income. With property also comes the ability to have a home base for any return or lengthy stay in Australia, which ensures a smoother transition upon any future relocation.

One of the most notable incentives for property investments in Australia is the potential for a reduction in tax on any capital gain made upon the sale of the property. However, the rules on this can be complex and it is important to note that you generally only benefit from such a tax concession should you resume tax residency or become tax resident in Australia.

Nevertheless, due to these incentives (and others), investing in the Australian property market to benefit from potential tax savings and long-term growth is an attractive option for many.

When considering either Australian property as an investment decision or selling your existing property, it is recommended to seek professional advice to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

Navigating Challenges

As with all forms of investing, property does not come without its own unique risks and challenges. Though not exclusive to the Australian property market, the lack of liquidity present compared to other styles of investing needs to be carefully considered.

In addition, perhaps more specific to the Australian property owners amongst you, the challenge of simply operating on a vastly different time zone when dealing with maintenance and management of property poses potentially significant issues in the worst of cases. Day-to-day, this will likely be a small issue, but it is definitely worth keeping in mind.

To that end, being in another Country does not just invite time zone complications. Whilst Australia uses the Australian Dollar (AUD), Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (CHF), the United Kingdom uses the Pound Sterling (GBP), the United States uses the US Dollar (USD) and so on. What this really means is that there is an ever-present currency risk that has the potential to seriously impact your returns when converting income earned in AUD to that of CHF or other relevant currency. Exchanges rates constantly fluctuate and so be sure to check the latest exchange rate(s) available to you with the institution you wish to exchange with.

Returning to Australia?

If you plan to return to Australia now or in the future, consider whether holding onto your property until you become an Australian tax resident would be suitable. In doing so, you could minimise unnecessary tax charges.

It is essential to ensure that your property holdings align with your future requirements upon your return. Whether leveraging the property for rental income, capitalising on long-term capital gains, or even your family’s evolving needs, making a property selection that aligns with your long-term goals is crucial for a smooth relocation. Effective financial planning now (before you arrive in Australia) can yield substantial benefits down the road. You’ll thank yourself for starting planning early!

Remaining Overseas?

For those with no plans to return to Australia, the approach to property ownership and tax management may differ and require a more considered approach. Should you hold onto your existing property? Should you sell? How long will you stay overseas? Could your funds be more efficiently invested elsewhere? All these are questions to consider (as well as many more!) to ensure that your property portfolio aligns with your broader investment goals.

For long-term financial success, it is crucial to think about whether your properties will be beneficial over the long-term, or not. In addition, the laws and regulations in place today are always open to change in the future and any changes may negatively (or, equally, positively) impact your decisions. Explore tax strategies available to you and how you can make the most of your Australian property whilst overseas.

Blueprint for Success

Owning property in Australia whilst overseas presents an exciting opportunity for wealth accumulation and the reassurance of a future home base. Yet, this journey is not without challenges, including management complexities, foreign exchange risks, and tax implications, notably for non-resident investors. Whilst it certainly offers its own advantages, real estate should be viewed as a component of a comprehensive strategy to diversify your investments and safeguard your financial wellbeing.

To walk this path with confidence, Patterson Mills are here to light the way. You don’t have to try and figure it all out on your own, get in touch with Patterson Mills today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting and we will guide you every step of the way. Send us an e-mail to or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all information within this article has been prepared for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.


Investing in Australia: Not just a holiday destination

Investing in Australia: Not just a holiday destination

2 min read

Investing in Australia: Not just a holiday destination

2 min read

As the World’s 13th largest economy (2022), Australia is a resilient country with strong employment growth and high levels of consumer savings. Australia has a dynamic edge in global markets with top tech talent, growing trade, and a highly productive agricultural sector. As a nation that consistently ranks highly in global indexes as a desirable destination to live, work, study and invest, this raises the question of ‘why’, and perhaps for the discerning individual, ‘how’ can I invest?

The Why?

Australia is internationally renowned as a secure, low-risk destination for investment, with underlying economic drivers supporting this strength and attracting global investors seeking stable investments. With a growing equities market and strong banking sector, it is a magnet for investment in critical areas, including finance, healthcare and education.

This follows alongside the global momentum towards renewable energy solutions, with Australia fast becoming the home of renewable energy, growing at a per capita rate ten times faster than the world average. It is also becoming a world leader in supporting the global supply chain in green energy, cementing new partnerships and collaborative projects with Europe to provide clean energy to both continents.

For those interested in the field of ESG (environmental, social, and governance), Australia as an investment market is becoming increasingly associated with ethical and responsible practices, particularly for those longer-term investors looking for more sustainable and impactful options to add to their portfolio.

The Who?

This leads us to the question of ‘who’ should invest in Australia. As Australia continues to advance as an ideal partner for trade investment and collaboration, we have similarly seen deepening bilateral partnerships between other Countries and an overall trend towards greater individual investment in the Australian market. However, this becomes especially relevant for the growing Australian expatriate community globally.

Particularly for those looking to return to or ultimately retire in Australia, higher exposure to Australian investments has the additional benefit of currency security. With the knowledge that your investment is valued in the currency you are set to use in your eventual retirement, there is not only confidence in a stable economy, but the reassurance that any potential devaluation of currency may have less of a negative impact on the real-life value of your assets upon withdrawal and retirement.

The How?

This is where your specialist financial adviser comes in. At Patterson Mills, we provide Clients with a bespoke selection of investment solutions, both in and beyond the Australian market. Such diversification allows the flexibility to invest in the resilient Australian economy whilst having unabated access to global markets. 

Whether you are looking to retire in Australia or to broaden your investment portfolio, it is essential to seek professional advice to ensure you have an efficient strategy in place, as no two people’s circumstances are the same.

Invest in Your Future, Today!

There is no greater time to start planning or review your existing investments than the present. Additionally, if you are a non-resident of Australia planning a return, you are able to access highly tax efficient investment vehicles alongside your other investments.

To find out how to take advantage of the suite of options available to you, get in touch today and book a no-cost and no-obligation call or meeting with our specialist Advisers.

Get in touch today and book your initial, free, no-obligation meeting. Send us an e-mail to or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84.

Australia Pensions

Australian Superannuation for Swiss Tax Residents

Australian Superannuation for Swiss Tax Residents

“Anyone with a pension or retirement is an investor in the stock market” – Brad Katsuyama

2 min read

Australian Superannuation for Swiss Tax Residents

“Anyone with a pension or retirement is an investor in the stock market” – Brad Katsuyama

2 min read

Whether you are planning on a permanent move to Switzerland, elsewhere overseas, or looking to return to Australia, there are some important things to consider when it comes to contributing to your Superannuation (Super) Fund.

It may be surprising to learn that despite non-residency status, there remains eligibility to make contributions to a Super Fund in Australia.

Initially, working out if Australian residency for tax purposes applies to you is vital, as this would determine the best approach for your personal finances.

Contributing to your Super could be a particularly good option to maximise your tax efficiency if your objective is to eventually retire in Australia, or if the taxation on your Super is more attractive in your planned final country of residence. If you are thinking about maintaining your Super as a non-resident of Australia, the considerations below are key factors of which to be aware.

Contributing to your Super as a Non-Resident of Australia

The rules regarding eligibility for Super contributions apply equally between residents, non-residents and temporary residents. Although some Super Funds can require Australian residency, in these cases you may be able to rollover (transfer) your Super into a different fund that accepts non-residents.

The standard contribution caps and rules apply universally, with the exception of certain co-contributions and concessions that may not be available, or applicable, for non-residents. Additionally, it is potentially detrimental to make contributions to a Self-Managed Super Fund as they require annual residency tests and will therefore require the investor to take prior professional advice.

Foreign employment income is not taken into consideration when working out the tax concessions for personal Super contributions. However, for those with sufficient Australian sourced assessable income, you may be entitled to claim a tax deduction against that income for your personal contribution.

Accessing your Super

In most cases, non-residents and residents are subject to the same rules when accessing their Australian Super. This means you will typically be unable to access your Super until you meet the conditions of release, which will vary between the ages of 55 to 65, depending on the year you were born and your Australian employment status.

If your ultimate goal is to retire in Australia as a tax resident, the tax rate in the pension income withdrawal phase on a Super Fund converted into a pension will be nil. As such, continuing to make contributions whilst living and working overseas could well be a viable option in order to maximise your retirement fund.

Alternatively, if your plans are to remain overseas for retirement, it is essential to note that your Super may be subject to tax in the receiving country. This will be dependent on any relevant double tax agreements between Australia and the country you will ultimately reside in.

Whether you are considering returning home or remaining overseas, it is essential to seek professional advice from one of our specialist advisers to ensure you make the most of your Super in accordance with your individual tax position.

Tax-Efficiency and Flexibility

Due to the generous tax-efficiencies, contributing to your Super in Australia can be in your interests when in Switzerland. We help you to create a retirement strategy that includes and accounts for your Super Fund, Swiss Pillar 2 and 3 pension funds and other tax-efficient options. In this way, such strategies facilitate a great degree of flexibility down the line, regardless of where you ultimately retire.

For this, specialist advice that takes account of your personal circumstances is vitally important.

How we can help

Navigating the complexities of Super contributions as a non-resident can often present unnecessary difficulties without proper guidance. We are here to guide you through the process and make it as smooth as possible.

There are also additional opportunities available to non-residents planning to return to Australia to achieve even greater tax efficiency. To find out how to take advantage of the suite of options open to you, get in touch today and book a no-cost and no obligation call or meeting with our specialist Australian Advisers now.

Simply send an e-mail to or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84.

Please note that all information within this article has been prepared for informational purposes only. Patterson Mills are not tax advisers and, as such, this article does not constitute legal or tax advice. Should you require a tax adviser, we are able to refer you. Always ensure you speak to a regulated financial adviser and tax adviser before making any financial decisions.