When you are living or working overseas the rules around superannuation can become a bit more complicated. There is often confusion around when you can access your superannuation and what contributions you can make.
Below is a brief summary to get you started, make sure to see a professional be taking any action.
For Australian Citizen
If you are leaving Australia permanently the same rules apply as if you still lived in Australia. This is you cannot access your superannuation until you meet the conditions of release. If you are working for an Australian employer overseas then you will still be eligible to receive you Super Guarantee Contributions (SGC) and eligible to make Non- Concessional contributions in line with your age base limits.
Note that if you are over age 65 you will also need to meet the work test before making non-concessional contributions, however, the work test can be satisfied anywhere in the world.
Also before an Australian Super Fund accepts your contribution they will require a valid Tax File Number (TFN).
Warning – the exception to these rules is Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) where contributions from non-residents can have negative tax implications for the fund as such you should never make a contribution to a SMSF without consulting an experienced tax adviser first.
For Non Residents
This is where some confusion comes in; if you are a non-resident who was here on a temporary resident visa and you are leaving Australia permanently you are able to access your superannuation. Please note that this does not apply to Australian Citizens only foreign citizens.
Should you make super contributions while overseas?
Before you start making contributions to an Australian Super fund while overseas you need to look at the tax rules around super for the country in which you are earning the income. Although many countries will allow a tax deduction for super contributions made to a complying super fund. An Australian super fund would not normally be considered a complying fund in a foreign country.
This is a very brief summary of these rules; if you are in this situation please ensure you obtain professional advice before acting.