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Stuff to do before you leave Australia for Silicon Valley

To guarantee a safe and relaxed atmosphere while abroad, here is a bunch of things you should sort out before leaving Australia. This list is based on stuff I had to do. Note, the following is only after you have decided that you are going to become a non-resident for Australian taxation purposes. This you become automatically if you consider yourself “living” overseas and are not going on a limited short term contract or transitory fly in.

For me, I am a non-resident for Australian taxation purposes.

Note: The following is NOT advise. It is what I did and I'm sharing
this with you. I highly recomment you seek expert advise from a
financial / tax specialist like http://smats.net who I use to take care
of all financial needs. Yes I searched long and hard to find these
guys since most financial / tax specialists I spoke to in America
were unsure how to best manage my international investments in
light of also being a full time tax resident in America.

Stuff to do before you leave Australia

  • Notify your banks and inform them that you are leaving Australia and thus are a non-resident for tax purposes. This will allow your banks to automatically deduct 10% from your interest when it is credited to your account. Also repay off any debts that you might have taken, for you wouldn’t want moorcroft debt recovery company to be tailing you all the way to Australia.
  • I left my Superannuation where it is. You now have the right to pull it out should you be in a financial hardship but it’s safer to leave it there in case you return. Also it’s not worth making any superannuation contributions whilst you are abroad since no tax deducation is available to make this a worthwhile excercise.
  • If you have a family home in Australia it is best to rent it out. I did., als we got a caring service at https://www.fidelishomecare.com/alzheimers-care/ for one of the elders at our house.
  • However it becomes a taxable income in Australia and must be reported to the ATO. However all costs related to the ownership are claimable and offset any tax. Basically your family home becomes an investment property and you will start accumulating tax credits should you return back to Australia. Tax credits can be used later to offset your taxable income once you start working in Australia potentially providing years of tax free income. Of course pending on the amount of investment property you have to do this.
  • If you have property investments and are they receiving an income you will need to file an Australian Tax return every year. Find a good accountant who you can relay on to look after your investments in Australia and have the ability to communicate via email with them. You want to make sure your assets are well protected and you have a team of specialists who will look after your best interest.
  • HECS (if you still own it) will continue to be due should your taxable income in Australia be over the $36K mark. Else there is no requirement to repay the loan unless you wish to make voluntary payment. I’m lucky to have repaid mine a few years back. Before you leave, try to repay it if you can so you don’t have this cloud over your head while abroad.
  • Your Australian credit cards are worth keeping. If you have credit cards with annual payment just keep them running. There is nothing more damaging then to shut down your credit card and have your credit history erased. Also should you visit Australia (and you will) you will want to use one of those credit cards to make payments. Just make sure you have repaid your credit card dept before leaving Australia.
  • Finally, nominate someone you can trust to be your mail handler. You will still receive mail and will want to make sure that this person you trust can either scan the mail and email it to you. You can also check out http://www.earthclassmail.com/ which scan your postal mail and emails it to you automatically for a very reasonable fee.

Now your set to go and explore the new land of opportunity.

Ernest

The Road to Silicon Valley Begins

During one lazy Sunday afternoon I decided to make a change in our life. It had to be a large change. Enough to shake the foundation beneath us. Something which could give us amazing experiences and a wealth of education as we journeyed through it. And so it began.

The day it happened

I created an opportunity of a lifetime to leave the comfort of my home country, Sydney (Australia) and head out to Silicon Valley, California.

Sydney, Australia - Photo by: ernestsemerda.com

Silicon Valley is the region is home to many of the world’s largest technology companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, HP, Intel, Cisco, eBay, Adobe, Agilent, Oracle, Yahoo, Netflix, and EA… and soon to be also my new home. More here if you want to read about Silicon Valley.

I do not have a set time-frame for how long I intend to stay in the USA. My main goal is to have the time of my life, an experience like no other. Only time will tell whether I return to Sydney or build on a new exciting life in a country where no Semerda has ever ventured before!

Why Silicon Valley?

So a few years back in Sydney (Australia) while doing my undergraduate Computer Science degree I always dreamed of working in Silicon Valley (California). Silicon Valley was seen as the Makkah in the world of science & technology. The place to be if you are into computers. Place where dreams are made. I wanted to experience this. Experience working in a leading edge tech company. Experience the culture, lifestyle, people and everything else it has to offer.

Global business in America is on a far greater scale than in Australia. I know that the knowledge gained will be invaluable to Australian employers should I return, earning power will be more aboard than in Australia, new friendships I make abroad will last and grow into business opportunities and the possibility of new trade of goods or services are endless if I keep my ears open to the sound of opportunity.

There is no other place like Silicon Valley anywhere in the world. Silicon Valley here I come!

Farewell dinner with friends

Before leaving Sydney, my wife & brother organized a farewell dinner for me with my close friends. Times like this make you realize who your true friends are. Those that care, want to spend the last few hours with you and send their best wishes before I venture into an unknown land with just a suitcase and a job. It gets harder because my wife of 4 years, unfortunately wont be joining me until we sort out her documents to work in California. So I will be alone, initially, in a country thousands of kilometers away starting a new life for the next few years.

Anyway, back to the dinner. It was a fun time! We ate plenty of good food, drank a lot of red vino (my favorite Bogan Shiraz) and partied till late in the back terrace of the restaurant.

Here’s a few snaps we took at our last supper:

Left: Urszula Semerda (my wife), Zane Hussein, Artur Semerda (my bro), Pembe & Shev Fahri (liverpoolexhaust.com.au)
Left: Steve Ong (CEO of ING Malaysia), Ramsin Jajoo, Ernest Semerda (me) & Gerry Gerasimos Kolaitis (autostyle.com.au)

My brother put together this (below) awesome last supper invite. Soooo nice of him to do that. How the heck did he get those old pics of me lol… definitely made my day. Thanks bro!

Invite to close friends for my last Supper in Sydney

The restaurant we had my last supper at was Elio at Leichhardt (Sydney). Beautifully presented mouth-watering meals! If you want to go there speak to Tommy who runs the restaurant. He is a good friend and will look after you. Elio is online here: http://www.elio.com.au/

Ok, Bon voyage! wish me luck!!

Ernest