Scheme swapping across the ditch

The Australian government recently announced that they have made changes to legislation that will allow New Zealanders to transfer their retirement savings from KiwiSaver into a compatible Australian scheme and vice versa.

This legislation is the result of an arrangement between the New Zealand and Australian governments and removes an obstacle between the two countries, providing the ability for people to take advantage of employment opportunities in either country, while still continuing to contribute to a retirement scheme.

Australia’s ruling is that it is compulsory for employees to be involved in a superannuation scheme.  This means that previously, any Kiwis working in Australia who were contributing during the time of their employment had to leave that money in Australia when and if they returned to New Zealand.

The Australian Tax Office recently estimated that it is holding NZ$21 billion in lost accounts, which has been put down to contributing Kiwis who have returned home and had to leave their contributions behind as a result.  The new scheme will mean that this money can be transferred from the Australian scheme, to their scheme provider here in New Zealand.

The transferring of funds will not incur any entry or exit taxes but the downside is that Kiwis will not be able to use their Australian superannuation fund towards a new home.  However any interest earned on the account may be used to do so.

The Australian scheme will have to comply with KiwiSaver in order for the transfer to be made as not all schemes are compatible.

If you have contributed to an Australian superannuation scheme in Australia and want access to your funds, visit www. kiwisaver.govt.nz

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