Determining residency for tax purposes in Australia is a complex matter that goes beyond a person’s citizenship. It involves considering various factors, such as connections, intentions, and duration of stay.

This article explores the intricacies of residency for tax purposes, highlighting a recent case and emphasising the importance of seeking professional advice. Residency status has significant implications for taxation, as residents are subject to taxes on their worldwide income, while non-residents are only taxed on income and capital gains sourced within Australia.


Residency determination and tax liability

Residency for tax purposes is determined by assessing an individual’s connections, intentions, and duration of stay in Australia. A recent case, PQBZ v FCT [2023] AATA 2984, heard by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), illustrates the complexities of residency determination. The AAT concluded that the taxpayer was a resident for tax purposes based on the “ordinarily resides” test, without relying on subsidiary tests such as domicile and intent to take up residency.


Relevance of connections

The AAT’s decision in the mentioned case heavily relied on the taxpayer’s connections to Australia. In addition to their business interests overseas, the taxpayer had significant personal connections with Australia, including a family home, personal and business assets, the residence of their spouse and children, Australian bank accounts, and Australian health insurance. These connections played a crucial role in establishing residency for tax purposes.


Duration of stay

While the duration of stay in Australia is an important factor in residency determination, it is not the sole determining factor. In the case mentioned above, the taxpayer had spent the majority of the relevant years residing in Australia, which further supported their classification as a resident for tax purposes. However, other considerations, such as connections and intentions, also come into play.


Complexities and double tax agreements

Residency issues for tax purposes may not always be as straightforward as the case mentioned earlier. Additional factors, such as whether the taxpayer has been in Australia for half the income year or more and their intent to take up residency, may need to be considered. Furthermore, the existence of a double tax agreement between Australia and the relevant country can introduce further complexities. It is crucial to understand the provisions of any applicable double tax agreement to accurately determine tax liabilities.


Seeking professional advice

Given the complexity of residency determination for tax purposes, seeking advice from a professional adviser is invaluable and essential. Tax professionals with expertise in Australian tax law can provide tailored guidance based on an individual’s specific circumstances. They can navigate the complexities, ensure compliance with tax regulations, and help optimise tax outcomes.



Determining residency for tax purposes in Australia involves a multifaceted process that goes beyond citizenship. The recent case discussed highlights the importance of connections, duration of stay, and intent in establishing residency. However, additional factors and the complexities of double tax agreements may need to be considered in certain cases. To navigate these intricacies and ensure compliance with tax laws, it is crucial to consult a professional adviser who can provide invaluable guidance tailored to individual circumstances.

For more information and personalised assistance, contact us today to learn more about residency for tax purposes and how we can help.

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