Tax Professionals' Guide to relocating to Papua New Guinea

Background

Papua New Guinea, normally referred to as PNG, is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, north of Australia and the capital is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The population of PNG is over 7 million and there are over 852 known languages in the country ! Only 18% of the population live in urban centres and much of the country is unexplored.

Employers

In terms of employment for tax professionals, this is almost exclusively with the Big 4 accountancy firms, all of whom have offices in Port Moresby. The tax roles that come up within PNG tend to be at tax manager, senior tax manager and tax director levels. It is rare to see more junior tax positions advertised.

To view current tax opportunities in PNG or to receive an email alert when new jobs are advertised, please click here: https://www.etaxjobs.com/browse-jobs/australasia-tax-jobs/papua-new-guinea-tax-jobs/

Working in PNG

To work in PNG as an expatriate you must hold a work permit and a work visa, which need to be obtained before you arrive. The work permit application is made by your new employer and a signed employment contract must be submitted at the time of the application as evidence of the term of employment. Note, you cannot be in PNG whilst your work permit application is being processed.

Taxation

Income tax is based on salary bands with the maximum tax rate being 42%. The table below is copied from PwC: http://taxsummaries.pwc.com/ID/Papua-New-Guinea-Individual-Taxes-on-personal-income


Expat compensation packages will typically include the following taxable items:

- cost of living allowances
- zero interest loan
- accommodation, meals and vehicles
- reimbursement of home country taxes

The following benefits are not subject to tax:

- education allowances for children
- annual leave airfares to home country

Where the employer pays directly the annual school fees for an employee's children that amount is exempt from tax.

Transport

The mountainous terrain makes transport quite difficult in PNG and air travel is therefore critical. For example, the two largest cities, Port Moresby and Lae are not connected by road, only by planes. Many of the remote villages can only be reached on foot or by light aircraft.

The major international airport is called Jacksons International Airport which is 5 miles from Port Moresby. There are, rather incredibly, 578 airstrips in total, most of which are unpaved.

UK tax professionals will be pleased to know that in PNG they drive on the correct side of the road (the left of course). You may use your original driving license for 1 month after arriving at PNG but after this you need to obtain a local driving license.

Health

The medical facilities in Papua New Guinea are basic so it important to have sufficient health insurance to cover the cost of any medical treatment, whether that is PNG or in Australia. It is worth checking your offer letter to see exactly what cover you have with your employment.

Sport

Sport is taken very seriously in PNG and soccer, rugby, Australian rules football, cricket, netball, and basketball are all popular. The most popular sport is Rugby League.

If you want to join a gym or fitness centre, there a several located within hotels that are open to members of the public.

Accommodation

The cost to rent obviously varies depending on the size the apartment/house and its location. Here is the link to a local estate agent in Port Moresby: http://hausples.com.pg/. A quick search shows that a 1 bed apartment starts at PGK 550 per week (which equates to around US$680 per month or £520 per month).

Schooling

As a senior tax manager or tax director your offer may include an element of school fees, because this is treated as tax-exempt income. There are a large number of international schools on PNG that can be perused here: http://www.commonwealthofnations.org/sectors-papua_new_guinea/education/independent_schools/. The cost per year varies significantly but we have seen pre-school fees of PGK 33k per year up to Grade 12 fees of PGK 70k per year.




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