Trans-Tasman Portability Q & A

Questions & Answers on Trans-Tasman Portability

 General

Q: Will I be able to transfer my savings to another country if I have previously transferred my savings between Australia and New Zealand?

A: No. Transferred savings will not be able to be transferred to a third country (any country apart from Australia or New Zealand).

Q: Do I have to transfer my savings if I move to Australia or vice versa?

A: No, the arrangements are voluntary.

Q: Are there any restrictions if my KiwiSaver savings include savings transferred from Australia and I later wish to transfer to another KiwiSaver scheme?

A: The KiwiSaver scheme you want to transfer to must be able to accept superannuation savings (directly or indirectly) from Australia. Some providers may choose not to accept superannuation savings from Australia under the Trans-Tasman portability rules (meaning that Australian-sourced amounts cannot be transferred to their schemes from other KiwiSaver schemes) but it appears most schemes will participate.

Q: Does New Zealand tax any transfers from New Zealand to Australia or vice versa?

A: No. Transfers of retirement savings are exempt (in either country) from any entry or exit taxes.

Q: I want to withdraw my savings regardless of the changes ‑ it’s my money after all.

A: You are not able to do this. The legislation to allow the transfer of retirement savings between New Zealand and Australia removes the ability for cash withdrawals one year after permanent emigration to Australia and replaces it with the ability to transfer your KiwiSaver balance into a complying Australian Superannuation Scheme if you wish.

Q: What does Inland Revenue recommend I should do when submitting a transfer application?

A: Inland Revenue are aware of differences of procedure between different KiwiSaver providers, therefore Inland Revenue recommend that you seek advice from your individual KiwiSaver provider in regards to specific Trans-Tasman transfer procedure and timeframes.

 Issues affecting transfers to Australia

 Q: How do I know if an Australian superannuation scheme is approved for the purposes of accepting my KiwiSaver savings?

A: You can find information on which Australian schemes are eligible to participate in the Savings Portability Scheme at http://superfundlookup.gov.au/.

However (while they must allow transfers to KiwiSaver schemes if their members emigrate to New Zealand) it is not compulsory for those Australian schemes to accept inward transfers from KiwiSaver schemes, so you will need to check whether your preferred Australian scheme accepts such transfers.

Q: How do I find out whether I have any retirement savings in Australia and where they are?

A:  You can search for your superannuation savings by going to www.ato.gov.au and using the Australian Tax Office online tool SuperSeeker. Your search can be completed in a couple of minutes by providing the following details:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Tax file number (TFN)

Alternatively, if you don't know your TFN you can complete the 'Searching for lost super' Form. You'll need to send the completed form to PO Box 3578, ALBURY NSW 2640.

Q: Will there be any fees associated with transferring my KiwiSaver savings to Australia?

A: Your Australian Superannuation provider may charge a fee. Please contact your Australian Superannuation provider to confirm.

Q: If I emigrate from New Zealand to Australia, can I transfer my KiwiSaver savings immediately or do I have to wait 12 months after emigrating?

A: You can transfer your savings immediately to an Australian complying superannuation scheme, provided you supply your KiwiSaver provider with proof of your permanent emigration to Australia (and you choose an Australian scheme that accepts such transfers).

This is now (i.e. since 1 July 2013) the only way of making a transfer of KiwiSaver savings to Australia. This means individuals can no longer withdraw their savings in a lump sum one year after permanently emigrating to Australia. However, you can transfer your entire KiwiSaver balance to an Australian scheme – before 1 July 2013, if you chose to receive a lump sum one year after emigrating, the full amount of member tax credits you had accumulated in your KiwiSaver account was forfeited and had to be repaid to Inland Revenue.

Q: If I transfer my savings to Australia, when will I be able to access them?

A: You will be able to access your KiwiSaver savings on or after the day when you reach the standard qualifying age for New Zealand Superannuation (currently 65).  Any investment earnings on these KiwiSaver savings as well as contributions made while in Australia will be subject to all Australian rules regarding access to savings.

Q: Can I transfer some savings to Australia and leave some in New Zealand?

A: No. If you choose to transfer your savings to Australia when you permanently emigrate, you must transfer them all.

Q: Does Australia tax any transfers?

A: No, Australia does not tax the transfer of retirement savings to or from New Zealand. However, transfers of New Zealand savings are subject to maximum transfer amounts which (in practical terms) are currently:

  • A$450,000 for persons aged under 65; and
  • A$150,000 for persons aged 65 or more.

If the transferred amount will exceed the relevant maximum then the transfer is not permitted. 

Australian-sourced retirement savings, and any New Zealand-sourced retirement savings re-entering Australia, may be excluded from these limits upon re-entering the Australian superannuation system. For more information go to:

http://www.ato.gov.au/superfunds/content.asp?doc=/content/00106372.htm&page=6&H6

Q: Are there any tax consequences when transferring my KiwiSaver savings to an Australian superannuation fund, and I am liable for any such tax consequences?

A: It is recommended that you seek independent and professional Australian and New Zealand tax advice pertaining to your circumstances in relation to the proposed transfer.

Q: What other benefits should I consider in my decision to transfer my KiwiSaver savings to Australia?

Australian superannuation providers may offer other benefits, such as insurance. You should check with the Australian superannuation provider what benefits they offer.

 Issues affecting transfers to New Zealand

Q: When can I transfer my retirement savings from Australia to New Zealand?

A: The commencement date for the initiative was 1 July 2013. You can now transfer savings between the two countries as soon as you emigrate from one country to the other.

Q: Do I have to transfer my savings into KiwiSaver? Can I transfer them to my bank account or another superannuation scheme in NZ?

A: Retirement savings transferred from Australia may only be transferred into a KiwiSaver scheme in New Zealand. This means Australian savings cannot be transferred into any other retirement schemes (including complying superannuation funds), personal managed funds or New Zealand bank accounts.

Q: Should I transfer my Australian retirement savings back to New Zealand?

A: You're able to hold multiple superannuation fund accounts in Australia, which can make managing your savings difficult. By transferring your savings to your KiwiSaver scheme account, you'll be consolidating all your retirement savings, making them much easier for you to monitor. You’ll also be paying only one set of administration fees.

However, there are a number of considerations to take into account, including investment income tax treatment (which differs between Australia and New Zealand) and fees. Therefore, it’s best to talk to your Adviser about what would be best for your personal and financial situation. Your Adviser may also refer you to a specialist tax adviser.

Q: What could be the benefits of transferring my Australian super savings back to New Zealand?

A: Transferring your Australian super savings may provide the following benefits:

  • it will enable you to consolidate your retirement savings in your country of residence;
  • you will avoid paying fees and charges on accounts in two countries;
  • you will have easier access to information relating to your retirement savings account through a local provider’s customer services team and portals; and
  • you can source financial advice from a local Authorised Financial Adviser.

Q: Will there be any fees associated with transferring my Australian super savings to New Zealand?

A:  Your KiwiSaver provider can charge a fee if they feel it necessary. Your KiwiSaver provider can advise.

Q: What documents do I need to provide in order to apply to transfer my savings from Australia?

A: This is currently being finalised. We will provide more information once this has been confirmed. 

Q: Can I use the savings that I’ve transferred from Australia for the purposes of buying my first home?

A: No. Savings transferred into a KiwiSaver scheme from an Australian complying superannuation scheme are not available for first home withdrawal. This is consistent with Australia’s superannuation savings policy. However, Investment earnings on the transferred amount can be withdrawn to help with the purchase of your first home.

Q: Are savings transferred into a KiwiSaver scheme from Australia subject to the KiwiSaver lock-in rules?

A: Yes, but with one key exceptionsavings transferred into a KiwiSaver scheme from an Australian complying superannuation scheme may be accessed at age 60 provided you satisfy the definition of retirement as set out in the applicable Australian regulations.

Q: How will the value of my Australian super savings be calculated when being transferred to New Zealand?

A: It depends if the balance of your Australian superannuation savings is transferred in A$ or NZ$. If the balance is transferred in A$ it will be changed to NZ$ once it enters your KiwiSaver scheme, therefore it will be subject to the exchange rate on the day at which it enters New Zealand. If the balance is transferred in NZ$ it will be subject to the exchange rate on the day at which it leaves Australia. 

Q: What happens if I have transferred my savings to Australia but I want to now return to New Zealand, can I bring all of my savings back again?

A: Yes, when re-emigrating to New Zealand you may transfer the total balance of your Australian superannuation to a complying KiwiSaver scheme. However the total transferred savings will be considered Australian sourced funds for KiwiSaver purposes.

 Q: If I transfer savings from Australia, can I withdraw these for reasons of significant financial hardship or serious illness?

A: Yes, if you meet the criteria. Australian savings transferred to New Zealand are subject to the standard KiwiSaver rules regarding significant financial hardship and serious illness access. Withdrawal criteria can be found at http://www.kiwisaver.govt.nz/already/get-money/early/.

Likewise, New Zealand savings transferred to Australia are subject to the standard Australian early access rules (for example hardship and permanent incapacity).

 Q: Does my KiwiSaver scheme provider have to accept my savings from Australia if requested?

A: No, it is not compulsory for KiwiSaver scheme providers to accept superannuation savings from Australia.

 Q: What if I have “lost super” in Australia – what can I do to transfer it to KiwiSaver?

A: In overview terms, you will need to arrange a transfer of your lost super back to a scheme listed on http://superfundlookup.gov.au/ and then you can transfer it back to a KiwiSaver scheme.

You will need an Australian tax file number in order to transfer to a KiwiSaver scheme, but you are entitled to this if you are a member of an Australian superannuation scheme.

 Q: Finding lost or unclaimed Australian Superannuation

A: You can search for your Australian super online, by phone, or by sending the Australian Tax Office (ATO) a paper form.

Whichever way you choose to search, you will need to provide the ATO with proof of your identity (See below*). Then they will give you the name and contact details of any super fund, retirement savings account or eligible rollover fund that has super that they can link to you.

You can search for your super:

*To use SuperSeeker you will need to know your Australian Number (TFN).  For guidance on how to use SuperSeeker or how to register to use ATO Online Services and what proof of identity they will accept, there are videos that you can watch that will guide you through the necessary steps.  Click here to access the videos.

 Q: What do I have to do if I find I have “ATO-held Super”

A: If the ATO have found your  lost super for you, you can complete a “Request to transfer whole balance of superannuation benefits between funds”  form and send it to your fund with the information they need to transfer your lost super for you.

This form and Instructions to help complete this form can be found at

http://www.ato.gov.au/Forms/Completing-the-request-to-transfer-whole-balance-of-superannuation-benefits-between-funds-form/

Q: I have an active account with an APRA approved Super Fund

A: At the moment a New Zealand resident cannot directly receive an amount of ATO-held Super into their KiwiSaver. You first need to transfer your ATO-held Super to your Super Fund (by completing  the  “request to transfer whole balance of superannuation benefits between funds” form). Once that is done you can apply through your New Zealand KiwiSaver provider to have your Australian Super Fund transferred to your KiwiSaver Scheme. 

 Q: I DO NOT have an active account with an APRA approved Super Fund?

 A: If you do not have an Australian Super Fund to rollover any ATO-held Super amounts to you are able to open a super account as there is no legal requirement that you reside in Australia under the superannuation legislation and regulations.  You will however need to have your  Australian Tax File Number.