Can you transfer your Australian Superannuation to KiwiSaver?
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The short answer is yes you can transfer your Australian Superannuation to KiwiSaver if you have permanently relocated to New Zealand. The Trans-Tasman retirement savings portability scheme is an agreement between the Australian and New Zealand governments to allow the transfer of Australian retirement savings to a New Zealand KiwiSaver account.
The scheme applies to:
New Zealanders who have been living and working in Australia and are returning to live in New Zealand permanently and
Australians who are permanently moving to New Zealand.
You will want the following information at hand before you start the process:
Australian Tax file number
Last Australian residential address
Recent Australian Super annual statement
The rules of transferring your super funds.
If you transfer your Australian super into your KiwiSaver fund, all your retirement savings are in one place, and you will pay one set of fees instead of two. However, it is likely you will pay more tax on your KiwiSaver funds than you would have on your Australian super funds (if you did not transfer them).
There is no tax to pay on the transferred balance prior to it being invested in your KiwiSaver account, however, once it is invested the balance will be subject to New Zealand tax just like your current KiwiSaver earnings are. Investments in New Zealand are taxed differently to those in Australia. Australia generally has a flat rate of 15% on earnings from superannuation schemes. While New Zealand's tax rate can range from 10.5% to 28%, depending on your own Prescribed Investor Rate.
Other key points to note:
You can transfer all your Australian super funds to your KiwiSaver – but you cannot transfer just some of it.
Once you have transferred your funds into you KiwiSaver, you cannot transfer them back.
If you decide to move to another country, you can withdraw your KiwiSaver funds, but you cannot withdraw the transferred Australian super funds.
If you transfer your Australian retirement savings to New Zealand, they must go into a KiwiSaver account. You cannot put the money into other investments or spend it before you reach retirement age.
Your Australian complying superannuation scheme provider may charge a fee to transfer your savings to your KiwiSaver account.
You also cannot put your Australian superannuation funds into buying your first home, and they will not count towards the KiwiSaver First Home grant.
You can withdraw the Australian funds from your KiwiSaver account when you turn 60 (compared to 65, for your KiwiSaver).
Not sure where your Australian Super is?
It is estimated there is over $5 billion of Kiwis' money sitting ‘lost’ in Aussie Super with the Australia Tax Office. Australian Super providers transfer inactive accounts to the ATO when:
The balance is less than $6000, and;
There haven’t been any contributions for at least 12 months.
If you're not sure where your Aussie Super is, contact the Australian Tax Office here.
How to transfer the money.
You'll need to contact your Australian super fund. They will give you the forms to complete and tell you what documents you need. Once you have completed the forms and returned them, along with the documents, they will take up to 30 days to decide whether to approve your application.
Get financial advice.
It is a good idea to get advice from a financial adviser to help you decide whether it is in your best interests to transfer.
A Finsol financial adviser can assist with ensuring you are aligned with the right KiwiSaver provider and have selected the appropriate fund for your needs; we also facilitate the entire Australian transfer process on your behalf. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified financial professional before making any financial decisions based on your individual circumstances.
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