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Australian bank demands Thai Tax ID (TIN)


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1 minute ago, Poet said:


That is not, at all, what I said. You claim that a citizen's declaration somehow switches off any claim that HMRC might have to their future earnings. I am telling you that this is not the case, despite being a common misconception.
 


You keep telling me that what I am saying is not true but then mischaracterize what I am saying.

This forum thread is about an Australian bank requesting a Thai tax number because the Australian government want some checkable verification that their non-resident accounts are legitimate. I am pointed out that this is an example of a government needing to see that, if you are not paying taxes to them, you are at least paying taxes to some other reputable tax juristiction.

You are, absolutely, tax livestock in the sense that you owe your government taxes until you can prove that you don't. Probably the most important part of that proof is that you are now liable to pay taxes somewhere else.

Yes, you were allowed to leave the UK with minimal fuss, but your declaration has no legal weight if, for example, you win $3m in the American Powerball lottery, or you bought a few Bitcoins last year, and they decide that you have actual meat that can be picked off your bones.

A junior clerk sits down and runs a few searches to see if you retained any meaningful ties to the UK. The first search would be your bank accounts to see if, for example, you had a Revolut account that you were unable to make non-resident. That provides weight to the argument that the UK remains your financial centre of gravity. The next search would be to see if you are, in fact, registered to pay tax in what they consider to be legitimate juristication.

All the other factors - is there still a car registered in your name, how often do you come back, are you still named as a director of any UK companies, do you have clients or investments in the UK etc - are all far less important that the reality that, if you are not paying taxes somewhere else, you automatically still belong to them. That is their ultimate green light because you simply won't be able to mount a defense in court.

From their perspective, they never officially relinquish their claim to you, regardless of what you declare, or how straight you play it thereafter. Right up until the day you die, they retain the right to investigate the possibilities of shaking a few more quid out of you. The only reason they do not bother in most cases is that you only get onto their radar if you have enough money to make it worth their while. Without knowing it, you may have already been subject to an exploratory investigation, based simply on money passing through your UK bank accounts. That they chose not to proceed merely means that it was not worth their while.

I am amazed that I have to explain and even defend the truth of something that most experienced expats are painfully aware of and discuss frequently.

 

Sadly, the only place for your arguments and you is on my ignore list, I have no time to waste on this sort of nonsense debating. Bye.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Brierley said:

Sadly, the only place for your arguments and you is on my ignore list, I have no time to waste on this sort of nonsense debating. Bye.


Well, that is truly extraordinary.

You launched into my posts rather aggressively with claims that I was not telling the truth. When I took the time to patiently explain what I meant, you bop me on the head with your rattle and declare that you are blocking me. As far as I am aware, this is the first time that anyone has ever blocked me.

I won't say what I think of that, as I don't want to make this personal, but I would observe that it often helps to stand back from a situation, breath, and ask yourself if any of this is really worth getting upset about.

 

Edited by Poet
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Thanks to everyone who has responded to my post.  I will certainly attempt to get a Thai TIN and provide it to my bank.  What I find most annoying is that Australian banks are not uniform in their requirements in relation to this TIN issue. If they follow the same tax regulations and CRS guidelines one would assume that they all should ask their clients for the same in that regard. This is not the case in Australia. And if they do introduce their own additional requirements shouldn't they let customers know in advance about this and let them sort things out without rush and undue pressure before enforcing these new requirements? Where all the fairness in banking customer service has gone?

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26 minutes ago, Poet said:

Yes, you were allowed to leave the UK with minimal fuss, but your declaration has no legal weight if, for example, you win $3m in the American Powerball lottery, or you bought a few Bitcoins last year, and they decide that you have actual meat that can be picked off your bones.

A junior clerk sits down and runs a few searches to see if you retained any meaningful ties to the UK. The first search would be your bank accounts to see if, for example, you had a Revolut account that you were unable to make non-resident. That provides weight to the argument that the UK remains your financial centre of gravity. The next search would be to see if you are, in fact, registered to pay tax in what they consider to be legitimate juristication.

All the other factors - is there still a car registered in your name, how often do you come back, are you still named as a director of any UK companies, do you have clients or investments in the UK etc - are all far less important that the reality that, if you are not paying taxes somewhere else, you automatically still belong to them. That is their ultimate green light because you simply won't be able to mount a defense in court.

From their perspective, they never officially relinquish their claim to you, regardless of what you declare, or how straight you play it thereafter. Right up until the day you die, they retain the right to investigate the possibilities of shaking a few more quid out of you.

Are you sure you are not confusing residency for tax and domicile - because your argument to me is closer to one of domicile and IHT for example.

 

As I am sure you know there are well documented residency tests for the UK and the example of having a Revolut account is one I do not understand. How do you make it non resident? And whether you do or don't I think is pretty irrelevant if you don't meet a number of other criteria as per guidelines. 

Eg. I am officially non resident for tax with HMRC but file my tax form every year for UK income and have a high street bank "normal" account. I even pay my tax from it..........

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I was in a similar position where my country decided 5 years after I moved here that they want to collect "world income" and that only way I could be removed from tax residency list of that country was by checking each of the 10 or so conditions. Luckily I did check all of them, so on that day they declared me non-tax-resident of that country but still wanted amount of difference in tax rates for 5 years before that.

 

Just being in Thailand 6 months a year does not automatically make you tax non-resident in your country of citizenship for many countries.

 

It may be good to check Australia's tax laws or contact a good lawyer there to explain it.

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51 minutes ago, Poet said:

you owe your government taxes until you can prove that you don't.

Sounds totally reasonable. 

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21 minutes ago, sonjai said:

Where all the fairness in banking customer service has gone?

It has gone nowhere!  It simply never existed.

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6 minutes ago, sonjai said:

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my post.  I will certainly attempt to get a Thai TIN and provide it to my bank.  What I find most annoying is that Australian banks are not uniform in their requirements in relation to this TIN issue. If they follow the same tax regulations and CRS guidelines one would assume that they all should ask their clients for the same in that regard. This is not the case in Australia. And if they do introduce their own additional requirements shouldn't they let customers know in advance about this and let them sort things out without rush and undue pressure before enforcing these new requirements? Where all the fairness in banking customer service has gone?

 

It's an excellent point and in a perfect world, all of these requests for information would be standardized.  The reality is that pretty well every global bank and certainly every Australian bank has been burnt by the waves of additional regulation in the 21st century.  HSBC, Lloyds, Citi, Santander, Commonwealth, Wells Fargo....the list goes on and on.  Hardly a month goes by without a major bank being prosecuted for knowingly dealing with criminals, tax evaders and corrupt politicians.  They are bankers and just can't help themselves: the smell of money is just too intoxicating.  But as the penalties become more severe, their shareholders are starting to demand that they clean up their acts and billions are spent every year on compliance departments inside the banks, chasing down TIN numbers for every Tom, Dick, Harry and Susan who has $23.54 in a savings account.  IMHO, the name of the game isn't really to stop doing business with criminals (it's VERY profitable business), it's to avoid fines for non-compliance.  So you get hassled 3 times a year to provide more personal information while Credit Suisse sends private bankers with briefcases full of cash to visit their clients who are known tax evaders.

 

As a computer technologist, it also worries me that these reams of personal information are being collected by institutions that often fail to protect it from disclosure via IT security breaches.  The more information they collect about me, the more information inevitably becomes available to organized crime to steal my identity and pilfer my assets.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, topt said:

Are you sure you are not confusing residency for tax and domicile - because your argument to me is closer to one of domicile and IHT for example


I am only repeating the legal advice I got, from an actual tax lawyer, when leaving the UK, which boiled down to: You are making a declaration, and you do have to make that declaration, but you cannot in return receive a declaration from HMRC acknowledging that they have no further claim on your future earnings because, very simply, they retain the right to decide, at any time, that they do. The only thing you can do to reduce that risk to have a clear, provable case that you are a legitimate tax-payer in another country that outweights any case they can make based on your remaining assets or interests in the UK.
 

42 minutes ago, topt said:

As I am sure you know there are well documented residency tests for the UK


As I understand it, residency is slightly different from tax residency in the sense that, even if you never step foot in the UK again, they can still claim that the UK remains the financial centre of your life on the grounds of property, your main bank account, business interests etc.
 

42 minutes ago, topt said:

The example of having a Revolut account is one I do not understand.


Any bank account that is resident, rather than non-resident, adds to the financial centre case. I chose Revolut as an example because it is the type of free bank account that many people forget about and, as far as I am aware, it is not possible to convert it into a non-resident bank account. I think it was not possible to give an address outside the countries in which they operate.
 

42 minutes ago, topt said:

How do you make it non resident?


Most regular bank accounts (as opposed to the online-only ones) allow you to provide a foreign address and, then, a tax number for that country. You can often even do this via their online banking.

In some countries banks are required, by the government, to request this from you in order to be allowed to apply any non-resident benefits and to be relieved of their own reporting requirements for that account.
 

42 minutes ago, topt said:

And whether you do or don't I think is pretty irrelevant if you don't meet a number of other criteria as per guidelines. 


The criteria are not as straightforward as they seem. Again, the case they need to present is that the UK is more your centre of financial activity than anywhere else. It is up to them to decide how many boxes they need to tick to make that case and they know that it is highly unlikely that they will ever have to present it in court. They only need enough for you, or your lawyer, to believe they might.

I have to stress, again, that this not something that will ever affect 99% of the people who declare that they are no longer tax resident in the UK but it is worth being aware that the declaration, on its own, does not protect you.

 

Edited by Poet
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hi there you must pay taxon income earned in australia or have it accessed.do that with your accountant its cheap relatively,in regards to here you dont have a TIN they only issue them to people who are working so would usually have a work permit,it does not apply to you and make that very clear,i had this problem before as the idiots dont listen or communicate easily,computer bs as per usual and govt arrogance.just repeat the fact that TINs arnt issued eventually theyll get it,write it downs the best way.they cant escape that.have your taxes paid in australia though dont give em any excuses

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Legally, your bank man is correct.

If you have any income ( which they know about) & cannot prove that you file a tax return offshore they will not let you off the hook

I went through this 28 years ago but as I had a Thai TFN it was a bit easier.

I owed them about $2,000 & as was being paid here arranged to send them $500 a quarter.Once paid I declared amyself a non resident for tax purposes which they accepted. Never had any need to re use  the number as pay tax here on everything 

except dividends which are franked in Oz.

Let us know how you end up

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Poet said:

The criteria are not as straightforward as they seem.

For tax residency which I was referring to I humbly disagree.

If you haven't read it  I would suggest starting here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rdr3-statutory-residence-test-srt/guidance-note-for-statutory-residence-test-srt-rdr3

 

40 minutes ago, Poet said:

but it is worth being aware that the declaration, on its own, does not protect you.

Sorry but that is completely self evident.

 

I appreciate you said it will not affect 99% of the people but we will just have to agree to disagree on the overall "slant" of your view.

As mentioned earlier, if normal residency (not tax residency) and consequently domicile, then I can see where you are coming from 👍  

Edited by topt
Apologies to OP for irrelevancy to his case!
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I have a Thai TIN from the time when I worked here.  Just apply for one.  You live here.  molehill <-------MOUNTAIN

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Getting a Thai TIN can be a bore.

However if you have a yellow tambien baan and/or a Thai pink ID, your ID number is your TIN if you don't work in Thailand.

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1 hour ago, hansnl said:

Getting a Thai TIN can be a bore.

However if you have a yellow tambien baan and/or a Thai pink ID, your ID number is your TIN if you don't work in Thailand.

What do you use if you have a TIN before getting the pink ID.

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On 5/1/2021 at 3:07 AM, Leaver said:

Unless you want to spend 180 days in Australia per year, in order to be deemed an Australian resident, I suggest you look at getting your income / income earning assets out of Australia.  Singapore is a good option in the region.

How would one go about starting this ? Bank accounts share trading accounts etc and the tax implications. Asking for a friend 🙂

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Posted (edited)

Firstly, to better understand Westpac's request and why, perhaps a little historical information may help. The matter at hand was NOT brought about by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) but rather as a result of court proceedings initiated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in which Westpac was fined late last year  AUD 1.3 Billion  for some 23 million breaches of Anti money laundering and counter terrorism financing laws. (there were other banks caught up in this too!)

This may help to understand  why they are a bit zealous at the moment. 

 

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/westpac-asic-executive-penalties-2020-12

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-24/westpac-money-laundering-austrac-fine-explained/12696746

Australia does have in place some 40 dual taxation treaties which in general terms, but subject to individual circumstance and paying entity structures, individuals are not subject to double taxation as per agreement between the Kingdom and Australia. The Australian Government  has in the last 30 years ramped up its efforts and reporting obligations against debasing the Commonwealth of its revenue either through money laundering, structuring offences etc along with its obligations with respect to counter-terrorism.  Examples  of legislative instruments  below.

 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2004A03657

https://iclg.com/practice-areas/anti-money-laundering-laws-and-regulations/australia

If there is  even a whiff that an individual is receiving undeclared income or their is the remotest concern  the banks  in oz will err on the side of safety along with complying with their reporting obligations.

Just to clear up another misnomer  both Thailand and Australia are signatories to  the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) "Automatic Exchange of Financial Account information which focuses on Trans National tax evasion. Australia has full participation in this program since 2018 whilst Thailand will also reach this status on or before 2023. This will possibly  be "firmed  up" with Extraterritorial Legislation (EJT Extraterritorial Juristiction)

Thread readers from countries other than Oz may find some interest in the below document.

 

https://www.oecd.org/tax/automatic-exchange/news/international-community-reaches-important-milestone-in-fight-against-tax-evasion.htm

 

Not knowing your individual circumstance or the full contextual discussion between you and Westpac to date my thought at the moment would be to work through the process of obtaining

A Thailand Taxation Identification Number (TIN) from your local revenue office. Keep a record of time/date/person conversations so if there are any unforeseen hiccups you can go back to Westpac with verifiable information should the need arise. 

Just a few thoughts on the matter from an 'Average Joe'

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Outbackoz
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I went through the same issue when I retired and invested money in some ETFs on the ASX. They, Westpac Broking wanted proof of my non resident status with TIN from another country. As others have stated governments are clamping down on tax evaders and advice I received is you have to pay tax somewhere if you don't want them chasing you. I tried to get a TIN from the Phuket Revenue office but they wanted a letter from my bank who in turn did not understand what the revenue office wanted? Confusion or misunderstanding I am not sure. Anyway I also heard that you can use the pink ID number as Thais use their ID card number for tax. Don't know if this was correct but that is the one I used and I have not heard back, probably because I don't warrant attention, small fry.

 

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On 5/4/2021 at 12:14 PM, natway09 said:

Legally, your bank man is correct.

If you have any income ( which they know about) & cannot prove that you file a tax return offshore they will not let you off the hook

I went through this 28 years ago but as I had a Thai TFN it was a bit easier.

I owed them about $2,000 & as was being paid here arranged to send them $500 a quarter.Once paid I declared amyself a non resident for tax purposes which they accepted. Never had any need to re use  the number as pay tax here on everything 

except dividends which are franked in Oz.

Let us know how you end up

I've managed to get hold of my old Thai TIN which I got 15 y ago when I worked in Bangkok. Looks like Thai tax office  (Revenue Department) maintains its database well. I went to their Banglamung office, told them that I used to work 15 years ago in Bangkok, showed them a copy of my old passport of that time, and a kind office lady found my record in their computer system in seconds. I did not even look at my current passport. I then gave the TIN to my Australian Bank and they were completely satisfied. So that's the end of the saga.  A huge relief. It seems to me that this CRS push to find tax dodgers and money launderers is indeed just a drive by my specific bank and not a general campaign by Australian Tax Office. None of my other Australian banks have bothered me that much about my Thai TIN. 
Many thanks to all posters on my thread for advice and support. 

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I cannot understand why you would not want to be an Australian Resident for tax purposes as you will be entitled to the tax-free threshold. If not, then you will have tax deducted at source at foreign investor rates.

Thailand won't give you any threshold.

 

The 180 day 'test' is ONLY ONE of the many tests to establish your tax residence. If you don't earn income in any other country then you will be deemed to be Australian for tax purposes anyway. You are naturally a tax resident by domicile (birth) or resident (180 days 'rule' test) unless you actively change and claim your tax residence elsewhere, hence by virtue of applying for a TIN.

 

I am not giving any financial advice, you should seek professional tax advice.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/4/2021 at 5:44 PM, BumGun said:

How would one go about starting this ? Bank accounts share trading accounts etc and the tax implications. Asking for a friend 🙂

 

Everyone's circumstances are different, but as I said in another post / thread, if you simply don't have anything in Australia to tax, then the tax department gets zero from you.  

 

To liquidate assets and move the money offshore is not a new thing, nor is it illegal.  In general, it's yours to move.  Similarly, manufacturing companies set up shop in low tax countries.  In more recent times, we have seen big tech do the same.  

 

One would have to assess their own financials, but for example, if an Australian living in Thailand had say three rental properties in Australia, and was paying non resident tax rates on the rent from all three, plus various other fees, taxes and charges, it may be beneficial to sell two of the properties and invest the money offshore.  One property can be kept in case the expat has to return home due to ill health or some unforeseen circumstance.  Or, sell all three, and with the proceeds, buy a very small property for this purpose, and move the rest offshore.   

 

As I have said, Singapore is a stable country.  It's a financial hub in its own right.  HSBC is a big global bank, so it would take something like World War 3 to see it collapse. 

 

Here is a link to a random webpage from the IRAS. (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)   It's a little dated, but you can compare their non resident tax rates with that of your home country, or Australia.

 

  https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Income-Tax-Rates/

 

Just as we all shop for the best interest rate on a loan, or interest rate for our cash, those choosing to live in Thailand full time, may find it beneficial to shop for the best tax deal they can get also.  

 

   

 

Edited by Leaver
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On 5/4/2021 at 8:21 AM, GreasyFingers said:

What do you use if you have a TIN before getting the pink ID.

You should use your current TIN , I guess. 
when I got a yellow book and pink card , several years after I was allocated my first Thai tax ID somehow my original TIN translated itself onto my pink card. Maybe they link databases. 
in any event if you have a pink card the 13 digit number on your card , in the absence of anything else,  can work as your Thai TIN

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Posted (edited)
On 5/4/2021 at 8:17 AM, damian said:

I have assets in Australia and derive benefits from them. I think the difference is I declare the benefits and lodge a tax return in Aus each year via my accountants. I am a non resident for tax purposes and have been for the last 27 years and I get taxed as such i.e. no free threshold when the return is processed.  That stops when I spend more that 180 days in a financial year is Aus. and become a resident again.  

 

You miss the point of ATO actions in respect of foreign income. The objective of all tax law and regulations is to capture foreign earnings of Australians in the Australian tax net.

 

Around 2009 the tax law was changed to exclude the 90 day provision which previously applied whereby Australians were previously exempt from Australian tax on foreign earnings if they were out of the country for 90 consecutive days. This no longer applies.

 

There is a precedent case which is similar to Damian's whereby the ATO won in court and taxed the foreign earnings of an Australian expatriate on the basis of his interests, bank accounts, and benefits derived from Australian citizenship made his foreign earnings taxable in Australia despite his overseas residence.

 

The question of foreign residence is not a simple one and the ATO will use the answer to the question on their forms as evidence you deliberately lied. Then they will magnify the penalty they apply.

 

Anybody who believes any ATO officials are pleasant, ethical people is deluded. They are psychopaths.

Edited by Advocate
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On 5/6/2021 at 4:45 PM, sonjai said:

I've managed to get hold of my old Thai TIN which I got 15 y ago when I worked in Bangkok. Looks like Thai tax office  (Revenue Department) maintains its database well. I went to their Banglamung office, told them that I used to work 15 years ago in Bangkok, showed them a copy of my old passport of that time, and a kind office lady found my record in their computer system in seconds. I did not even look at my current passport. I then gave the TIN to my Australian Bank and they were completely satisfied. So that's the end of the saga.  A huge relief. It seems to me that this CRS push to find tax dodgers and money launderers is indeed just a drive by my specific bank and not a general campaign by Australian Tax Office. None of my other Australian banks have bothered me that much about my Thai TIN. 
Many thanks to all posters on my thread for advice and support. 

 

Are you sure you gave the Aussie banks a 15 year old TIN?  Thailand TINs used to be 11 digits, and about 6 years ago they changed to 13 digits.

 

They might have issued you a new TIN there and then?  Did they print out a yellow slip with it on ?

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On 5/4/2021 at 9:13 AM, GreasyFingers said:

Then why do they ask whether you are a resident for tax purposes on your tax return. You can be a non resident and you will be taxed on everything you earn in Australia without the tax threshold.

 

The questions on the tax form are for self-entrapment purposes where they use your answer to penalize you at higher penalty values because your answer disagreed with their assessment.

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People affected by tax residency laws in Australia should be aware that the government announced new rules in its 2021 budget, which was just released:

 

"The Government will replace the individual tax residency rules with a new framework that is easy to understand, provides certainty and reduces compliance costs for globally mobile individuals and their employers.
The primary test will be a simple ‘bright line’ test:
a person who is physically present in Australia for 183 days or more in any income year will be an Australian tax resident. 
Individuals who do not meet the primary test will be subject to secondary tests that depend on a combination of physical presence and measurable, objective criteria".

 

I haven't seen any news yet on what these "secondary tests" will involve.

 

Budget 2021-22 - Factsheet

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On 5/6/2021 at 11:30 PM, QPRFC said:

I cannot understand why you would not want to be an Australian Resident for tax purposes as you will be entitled to the tax-free threshold. If not, then you will have tax deducted at source at foreign investor rates.

Thailand won't give you any threshold.

 

 

Principal reason to avoid tax residency in Australia is because Australia taxes tax residents on their worldwide income, so anything you earn in other countries would be subject to Australian tax as well (with some narrow exceptions).  For example, if you have investments generating income outside Australia, these will not be subject to Australian income tax if you are non-resident for tax, but will be if you are resident.

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