Australian with US investments
April 23, 2012 2:04 AM   Subscribe

What sort of things should an Australian living in Australia know about owning an investment (e.g., an index fund) in the USA? The investment would be part of a retirement fund that has a low (15%) tax rate in Australia.
posted by Joe in Australia to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I can't think of anything mysterious, as an American investor. The tax rate would be the big one. As an investor today, you'd have access to all the same info (online reports & 3rd-party analysis) that I am.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:02 AM on April 23, 2012

I held off answering on this, since my experience is as a New Zealander living in Australia with an investment in the UK, so not strictly equivalent. But since you aren't getting other answers - the number one problem for me is that it is tricky to get the money out again.

I set the investment up when living in the UK, and now that I want to withdraw the money, I am faced with having to phone people during UK opening hours, and they would quite like me to just "come in in person", and also there are shitty complicated tax laws that I can't even comprehend. (Mainly because the UK treats investments differently for overseas investors, and it should have been set up differently, except that I was a local resident at the time of setting it up, so I didn't, and no one seems to be able to give me a straight answer about what that means.) Best case scenario: it looks like I will be taxed twice - once in the UK and once in Australia, which means I'll lose a lot of the money.

If you will also be taxed twice (and I don't really see why you wouldn't be), it's hard to imagine that the US investment will return a better rate than one based here in AU that will only be taxed once, even if that tax rate IS low.
posted by lollusc at 8:31 PM on April 23, 2012

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