Transferring foreign super

If you are migrating or returning to Australia it may be possible to transfer your retirement benefits from an overseas fund to an Australian complying super fund, even though accessing the funds may not be possible until retirement.

We recommend you seek advice from a taxation consultant specialising in the relevant country’s tax laws before transferring any funds from overseas.

As an Australian tax payer you may transfer a super lump sum from a foreign super fund; how that lump sum will be treated and taxed in Australia will depend on:

  • when the transfer is received in Australia (before or after six months of Australian residency)
  • whether you make an election regarding ‘applicable fund earnings’
  • the non-concessional contribution cap at the time of transfer
  • your age in the financial year of the transfer.

New Zealand super transfers

New rules allow individuals to transfer retirement savings between Australia and New Zealand (NZ). These rules are the Trans-Tasman portability rules.

Members of Media Super who emigrate to live permanently in NZ can transfer their super benefits to a nominated NZ retirement savings account (‘KiwiSaver scheme’). KiwiSaver scheme members can transfer their retirement savings to an Australian superannuation fund if they now live permanently in Australia, however Media Super at this time is unable to accomodate these requests.

Please visit www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super for further information on the Trans-Tasman portability rules.

UK pension transfers

The transfer of a UK pension is subject to the general rules that apply to transferring foreign super, however there are special rules that apply in particular to the transfer of UK pensions into Australia.

Any money transferred from a UK registered pension scheme to an Australian super fund may be subject to a penalty tax in the UK unless the Australian fund is a qualifying recognized overseas pension scheme (QROPS). Any transfer of UK pension funds is also subject to the UK lifetime limit allowance.

Please note that Media Super is not a QROPS, so it cannot accept UK pension transfers without the penalty tax applying. We are able to accept other foreign transfers, subject to the conditions that apply, and Media Super does not charge a fee for contributions transferred to the Fund.

For more information on the transfer of foreign super to Australia visit the Australian Taxation Office website at ato.gov.au, then go to – Individuals / Superannuation / Transferring super.

This is a complex area and we recommend you seek tax and financial planning advice from suitably qualified professionals if you have foreign super to transfer.