Taxpayer who lived and worked overseas found to be tax resident 

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘AAT’) recently held that a taxpayer was a tax resident of Australia, even though he was mostly living and working overseas during the relevant period. 

The taxpayer was born in Vietnam and obtained Australian citizenship in 1978.  He was living and working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 2015 until 2020. 

The taxpayer spent less than two months in Australia for each of the 2017 to 2020 income years visiting his family. 

The AAT nevertheless held that he was a tax resident of Australia for each of the 2016 to 2020 income years, as he “maintained an intention to return to Australia and an attitude that Australia remained his home”. 

The AAT noted in this regard that the taxpayer: 

  • left his wife and three daughters in the family home in Australia while he worked in Dubai, continued to fully support his family financially, and chose to spend each of his leave periods with his family in Australia; 
  • maintained his vehicle registrations and Australian drivers licence so he could use the vehicles upon his return to Australia; 
  • intended to retire in Australia; 
  • failed to demonstrate any connection with Dubai outside of his employment; and 
  • maintained his private health insurance.