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Tax guidelines and regulations for large money transfers into Australia

Australia generally doesn't tax gifts — but it does tax foreign income.

If you’re sending a large amount of money to Australia, both you and your recipient may be required to report it on your taxes.

How Australia regulates large remittances

If you’re sending a large sum of money to friends and family in Australia, they could be on the hook for taxes regulated by the Australian Taxation Office, depending what you’re sending it for.

If you’re sending money for business purposes, including for purchasing goods, receiving advice or counsel or investing in a business, your recipient will have to declare it as foreign income on their yearly tax returns.

In general, one-time gifts or inheritances transferred into the country are not subject to a gift tax. But Australia leaves their tax code vague, stating that “gifts may be taxable if they are large amounts or you receive them as part of a business-like activity.” This allows them to charge taxes if someone tries to pass off a business payment as a gift.

If you’re concerned about a large transfer, speak to a tax professional to make sure that you comply with Australia’s taxation regulations.

Do I have to report large transfers out of the US?

Possibly. If you’ve sent more than $15,000 as a gift in the last year or more than $10,000 for business purposes, or if you’re sending money to a foreign account in your name that’s held more than $10,000 in the past year, you’ll need to report it.

By law, banks are required to report cash transactions that exceed $10,000 — and transactions of any amount that raises suspicions. For independent money transfer businesses, the reporting threshold can be as low as $1,000. Talk to a tax professional about whether your money transfer complies with federal taxation guidelines.

What are the penalties in Australia if my recipient fails to file?

If your recipient owed money on the transfer but left it unreported on their income taxes, they can owe up to a 75% penalty on the taxes owed. If they’re convicted of tax evasion or fraud, the penalties can be higher and include jail time.

Sending a lot of money out of the country? Know what the IRS expects of you.

How much money can I send to Australia?

To put it simply, as much as you want. Neither the US nor the Australian government puts a cap on remittances. But some money transfer providers do set their own limits, so if you’re planning a large transfer, use a limit-free provider like Xe.

How will my recipient in Australia get the money?

Depending on which transfer provider you use, your recipient can pick up the cash in person or have the money deposited directly into their bank account or mobile wallet.

If they’re picking up the money in person, have them bring a photo ID and transaction or confirmation number with them.

How to send money to Australia

Bottom line

Sending money to Australia is fast and simple if you use a reputable money transfer provider, but if you’re sending money for business purposes, both you and your recipient may be responsible for reporting it on your taxes.

As with all international money transfers, protect yourself from fraud by only sending money to people you know. Using a reputable provider can help to safeguard you from potential scams.

Frequently asked questions

Is it legal to bring a large amount of cash to Australia?

Yes. If you’re flying to Australia and would rather just bring the money yourself, the government doesn’t set a limit on how much cash you can bring into the country. But if it’s more than AUD$10,000 — or the equivalent amount in any foreign currency — you’ll need to declare it.

How do I avoid IRS penalties if I fail to file?

If you show reasonable cause for failure to file, such as a natural disaster or serious illness, the IRS can waive the penalties.

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Leah Fallon is a freelance journalist and editor, specializing in personal finance and small business. She owns Birch Tree Bookstore in Leesburg, Virginia. See full bio

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    ChristineMay 15, 2018

    I have supposedley won $200,000,000 and have been inforrmed that I need to send $5,000 to the high court of Hong Kong for the money to be transffered to my Australian bank account. Is this true. They said it is Hong Kong Law.

      Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloMay 16, 2018

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder. Please note that we are a comparison website and we do not represent any of the providers on our page.

      You’ve received a letter that you’ve scored a prize. Or maybe you’re contacted about a lottery you’ve won. It’s a lot of money, and there’s only one catch: you first need to pay a fee or cover taxes to receive it. It’s such a small amount, about $1,000. Surely that’s worth receiving what you’re due.

      You should never have to pay upfront to receive a prize or lottery winnings. That alone should raise red flags. But if you’re curious, research the organization or company from which you’ve received your letter to see what others have to say. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can check our guide for more information about online money transfer scams.


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