Foreign Superannuation

The rules regarding tax on lump sum withdrawals and transfers by New Zealand tax residents from foreign superannuation schemes changed on 1 April 2014. The rules have been simplified due to Government concern that taxpayers may have been underpaying tax on foreign superannuation savings because of the complexity of the previous rules.

A temporary concession was put in place as part of the new rules to allow taxpayers to correct any underpayment of tax in respect of lump sum withdrawals and transfers between 1 January 2000 and 31 March 2014. This concession indicates that the Inland Revenue Department may undertake audit activity in this area in the near future. 

The following documents produced by the NZ IRD shed some light

We can assist you with both UK Pension Transfers and Aussie Super Transfers to a qualifying KiwiSaver account. Contact Pete Norris for more details

 

Australian Superannuation Transfers

Transferring your overseas superannuation savings to KiwiSaver? Get all the facts before transferring your overseas superannuation savings to KiwiSaver - guidance for consumers.

 

New Zealand residents can now transfer their Australian superannuation savings to an approved scheme here in New Zealand– in this case a KiwiSaver account.

This also means KiwiSaver members who permanently move to Australia can transfer their KiwiSaver savings to an approved superannuation scheme over there.

But just because you can transfer your savings to KiwiSaver doesn't mean you should.

Questions to ask yourself before deciding to transfer your money

1. What is the amount of money I'm planning to transfer?

Whether it’s $5,000 you want to transfer or $500,000, everybody will have a different idea of how important that money is. In other words what is a small amount of money for you could be a large amount to someone else. Depending on your circumstances your amount could influence your decision.

Firstly, check with your Australian superannuation provider(s) to find out what your ‘rollover’ value is – that’s the full amount you are entitled to. You may decide that the amount is small enough to consolidate without the need to undertake extensive research or that the cost to transfer is fair and reasonable.

If your superannuation is a large sum, we strongly encourage you to take more time to fully understand the implications of the transfer.If you’re not sure who your provider is check the Australian Tax Office’s Lost Member Register or use its SuperSeeker tool, which can be found at www.ato.gov.au/superseeker

2. How do the fees and transfer costs compare between my Australian superannuation scheme and KiwiSaver provider?

Fees

Most investments will have a variety of fees. Some are likely to be fixed charges, e.g. monthly fees, and some are likely to be a percentage of the value of your investment. There may be performance fees paid to some fund managers for ‘outperforming’ the benchmark. You should ensure you understand all the fees that apply across all of your investments especially between your Australian and KiwiSaver providers so you can consider whether you are better off consolidating the funds or not.

Transfer costs

There are also potential costs to transfer your funds. Your Australian provider(s) may charge a fee to transfer the funds and likewise your KiwiSaver provider may charge a fee to arrange it. Currency exchange rate fees are likely to apply so find out exactly what you will be charged as this could influence your decision.

3. What benefits (if any) will I be giving up if I transfer my money to KiwiSaver?

You may have benefits linked to your Australian superannuation savings. For example, some overseas schemes offer additional benefits such as life, total and permanent disability or income protection insurance. And some schemes have guarantees when it comes to the amount of money paid out once you reach retirement age. These will depend on how much you have contributed and for how long but they are sometimes referred to as a company final salary, accumulation fund or combination of these. It always pays to check what (if any) benefits you may have and the value of these – you may decide you don’t want to give these up.

4. Are there any tax implications to transfer my savings to KiwiSaver from Australia?

The way you pay tax on your investments will be different between Australia and New Zealand. It will depend on your individual funds and circumstances as to where it is more favourable to keep your superannuation savings. For example our current understanding is:

  • Tax on transfers: Neither country will tax the transfer of retirement savings to the other country.
  • Tax on earnings: Australia generally has a flat rate of 15% on earnings from superannuation schemes. New Zealand’s tax rate on superannuation earnings can range from 10.5% to 28% depending on your own Prescribed Investor Rate (PIR). However Australia taxes capital gains in superannuation schemes on equities whereas New Zealand does not tax capital gains on Australasian equities.

To help you understand how the tax implications will affect you, we strongly recommend you visit the Inland Revenue Department and the Australian Tax Office websites.
 

5. What other things should I compare between my Australian provider(s) and my KiwiSaver provider?

  • You should always compare the types of funds or assets in which you are able to invest.  Chances are it will vary between your Australian provider(s) and your KiwiSaver provider so make sure you are aware of all the options available so you are comfortable with the level of choice on offer.
  • Think about how much control you have over your investments in one country compared to the other. Australian superannuation providers do offer a greater variety of options for choosing your own investments. Check what they are as you may not be able to invest in the same range of options within current KiwiSaver schemes.
  • Think about how you can access information and advice about your investments. For example, do you like to have regular face-to- face contact with your providers or are you happy to discuss your requirements by telephone, email or over the internet?  Or are you happy just to receive statements in the mail?  Some of these methods may suit you better than others, and some may be easier than others depending where you live, and where your funds are held. Think about what works best for you.

 

IMPORTANT: For superannuation savings originating from Australia, once those funds have been transferred to your KiwiSaver account they will be available when you have reached age 60 and you satisfy the Australian definition of retirement at that age. For superannuation transfers into KiwiSaver from countries other than Australia, you will not have access to the funds until you reach the New Zealand retirement age (currently 65), and you have been in KiwiSaver for a minimum of five years.

See www.kiwisaver.govt.nz for more information about access eligibility.

 

What to do if you decide to transfer your money to KiwiSaver

If you have decided to transfer your money to your KiwiSaver account then there are some other important things you need to consider to make the most of your transfer.

Exchange Rate
Just like using overseas currency, the amount of money you bring back will be affected by the exchange rate at the time you transfer it. Think about at what rate you would like to bring back your superannuation savings over so you preserve as much as possible.

Now that the new rules are in place, you can initiate the transfer at a time that suits you (subject to your KiwiSaver provider being able to receive it).  Remember there will be currency exchange rate fees built into any transfer so take those into account too.

Transfer Costs
There are potential costs to transfer your funds. Your Australian provider(s) may charge a fee to transfer the funds and likewise your KiwiSaver provider may charge a fee to arrange it.

 

Remember, once you have transferred your superannuation savings across you cannot reverse the decision unless you decide to permanently move back to Australia. This is an important financial decision so take as much time as you need to understand how it will affect you and consult an Authorised Financial Adviser to help you understand the risks, benefits and options available to you if you decide to transfer your funds.

 

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