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I am an Australian citizen and work remotely for an Australian company. My pay goes into an Australian bank account and I also have a mortgage (actually a line of credit) on an Australian property.

I have been out of the country for the last 18 months, travelling as a tourist (visa-free) and working remotely for the Australian company. I haven't worked for a foreign company or seeked out work with any foreign company, so I am able to travel on a tourist visa.

Do I have to remain a tax resident of Australia?

If not, what are better options?

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    Are you working or not working in foreign countries? Your question as it stands is confusing. – Victor Jan 11 '15 at 1:45
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    Note, that "working in foreign countries" and "working for a foreign employer" are not the same. Remotely working for your Australian employer while physically present in a foreign country is working in a foreign country. Given that - please answer Victor's question. – littleadv Jan 11 '15 at 2:55
  • I don't think there was a clear answer on this. i am living in Turkey for a couple of years and my company in Australia wants me to do some work for them from here. Preparing documents. they will pay the $$$ into my Australian bank account. Can I be just a normal worker and pay normal tax? I have been told I can't get an ABN. Thanks. – user32749 Aug 29 '15 at 14:26
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You're likely to be an Australian resident for tax purposes (see the domicile test here). Since you do not have a permanent place of abode anywhere else, and clearly you have ties to Australia (including property) - I'd say your domicile is in Australia.

So you're paying taxes in Australia on your worldwide income.

In addition, you pay taxes to the countries you're working in for earnings you receive for work done while you're present in these countries, per their laws. If some of these countries have treaties with Australia - you can use the treaties to avoid double taxation, but if these countries don't have tax treaties with Australia - you'll end up paying taxes twice on the same money.

You'll have to talk to a properly licensed Australian tax accountant, and check the tax laws of every country you're working from. The fact that you're in violation of your immigration status (working on tourist visas is usually illegal in most countries) rarely has any bearing on your tax liabilities.

  • +1 - the only thing I would add is - are you working or not working in foreign countries? If you are not working then you would not be earing any money in a foreign country then not have to pay any tax. If you rent out your Australian property whilst overseas and the rent is more than all expenses on the property, then you may have to pay tax in Australia if that rental income is above your tax free threshold. – Victor Jan 10 '15 at 22:02
  • The OP explicitly said he/she is working. – littleadv Jan 10 '15 at 23:45
  • The OP firstly say he is working remotely for an Australian Company (does not say he is working remotely overseas - it could be remotely in Australia). Then he says he is out of the country for 18 months travelling as a tourist (visa-free) and has not worked with any foreign company. The question as it stands is conflicting and confusing, which is why I asked for clarification. Where does the OP explicitly say he is working whilst overseas? – Victor Jan 11 '15 at 1:44
  • The OP explicitly said he is travelling as a tourist - that means he is not working. – Victor Jan 11 '15 at 2:07
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    @Victor I'll qoute: "I am an Australian citizen and work remotely for an Australian company". To me its clear enough that the OP is working while traveling around. I'm sure he wouldn't say "I am ... work[ing] remotely" if he wasn't working for the last 18 months. – littleadv Jan 11 '15 at 2:52

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