- worked in China for 2+ years
- paying income taxes in Australia through payment plan arrangement
- system keep sending notices of payment default as I am keeping up with PAYG payments after the first year
- tax officers & agent not helpful
Anyone else care to share similar experience and how they dealt with ATO?
I returned to Australia after working overseas for more than 2 years. Throughout that period, I have done the right thing by reporting my overseas income. However, through no fault of my own, I have been made to feel like a criminal trying to evade paying my income taxes. It has been extremely nerve-wrecking to receive notice after notice of payment defaults. Each time, I tried to get to the bottom of the issue with the help of the tax officers who did their best to explain the situation to me. After numerous calls, and upon working out my taxes owed and PAYGs for myself, I think I finally understand my tax situation and obligations. No words can describe the unpleasant conversations I had each time I called ATO. I do not know if it was a combination of my ignorance or misunderstanding or the lack of communication with my tax agent that has caused this confusion. As a mid-career professional who is trying my very best to seek legal employment in Australia for several months, I feel defeated and deflated after this experience.
I wish the system would provide better information for returning overseas workers. This experience has been a real eye-opener for me about the lack of preparedness on my part as a tax payer. While I do not expect a red carpet welcome upon returning to Australia, I felt I have been the target of low hanging fruit by the ATO. As I am contemplating whether to seek overseas employment in the future, I expect the minimal effort by ATO to;
i) Educate prospective tax-payers about their obligations when seeking overseas employment,
ii) Make every effort to contact every tax payer working overseas about their past, current and future tax obligations,
iii) Be gentler and more apologetic with middle-aged callers who are trying their best to understand their own financial difficulties.
This issue has impacted me extremely negatively. I want to feel proud that I am doing the nation a real favour by heroically battling financial and health uncertainties and bringing home foreign income and not just recirculating local currencies or worse, sucking hard-working income tax paying Australians. I am left questioning if that heroic effort has been worthwhile.
Does anyone have similar experience with ATO upon returning home from working overseas? Please share.