If you have a balance in an Australian superannuation scheme, you may transfer it to your KiwiSaver Account under SuperLife.

I have a super account in Australia, should I transfer it to my KiwiSaver Account?

For many people, transferring the Australian balance to SuperLife will make sense. But for some, there will be advantages in keeping it in Australia. This is a decision you will need to make based on your personal situation and what is important to you.

Generally, having your savings in the country you will retire to makes sense. If you will probably return to Australia, keeping it in Australia is more likely to be the better option.

If you are not likely to return to Australia, it makes sense, at some point, to bring the money to New Zealand because this is where you will spend it. The question for most is "when," not "if." This may be now, or it may be at any time up to or during your retirement.

What should I think about in making up my mind, whether I should transfer my Aussie Super to New Zealand?

Convenience For many people, the decision will be made for non-financial reasons. It is just more convenient to have control of all of your investments in one country. This will be particularly true if your Australian balance is small.
Investment strategy

As a general rule, the investment strategy that is optimal for an Australian based investor is different to that which is best for a NZ based investor. You have to decide whether your current investment strategy under your Australian scheme is best for you based on your personal circumstances.

If the current Australian scheme does not have the optimal strategy for you, transferring to SuperLife may make sense, because of SuperLife's flexibility.

Fees The only investment return that is important, is the net-of-tax and net-of-fees return. SuperLife probably has lower total fees than the current Australian scheme and may therefore give you a higher net return, all else being equal. Small fee savings can make a difference to the accumulated savings at retirement.
Tax The tax laws between NZ and Australia are different. Tax laws will also change. In Australia, you generally pay tax at 15% on income and any capital gains. In general, New Zealand adults pay tax at 17.5% or 28% on income (some pay 10.5%) and 0% on capital gains. While the NZ rate is often higher (e.g. 28% versus 15%), it is applied to less of the total return and so for many investors, it will result in less tax paid.
First home withdrawal While you cannot withdraw any, Australian super transfer value received to help buy your first home, you can withdraw the investment earnings earned on it while it is in KiwiSaver. A person looking to buy their first home may gain an advantage if they transfer their Australian superannuation balance sooner as the investment earnings earned while it is in New Zealand can be withdrawn for this purpose.

 

Overall, for most people, the lower fees, tax efficiencies and investment flexibility of SuperLife will favour the transfer option. However, most are likely to make the decision on the basis of convenience and where they will retire. Also, other KiwiSaver schemes may not have the fee advantage of SuperLife so which KiwiSaver scheme you transfer to is also important.

 

Q&A

If I have an Australian super do I have to transfer?

No. Transferring is voluntary. You should only do so if you decide it is best for you.

If I transfer my Aussie super to KiwiSaver, can I withdraw the money to help buy my first home?

No. The money transferred must stay for retirement. However, the investment earnings on the transfer value can be withdrawn as part of the first home withdrawal.

If I subsequently return to Australia, can I transfer my money back to Australia?

Yes. In addition, you can transfer your other KiwiSaver money as well.

If I subsequently move to a new country (besides Australia), can I transfer the Aussie Transfer value to the new country?

No. The money must stay in KiwiSaver in New Zealand, or must be transferred back to Australia.

If I move to Australia, can I still take the alternative cash option after I have been away for 12 months?

No. If you emigrate to Australia, the option of withdrawing your KiwiSaver Account balance (excluding the MTCs) in cash after 12 months available for other countries does not apply.

If I retire early, can I withdraw my Aussie Transfer Value before age 65?

Yes. If you retire on or after age 60 and meet the Australian definition of retirement, you can receive part of the Australian transfer value portion of your KiwiSaver Account without having to wait to your KiwiSaver Retirement Age. Typically, somewhere between 4% and 10% may be withdrawn each year. The balance of your KiwiSaver Account is still locked in until your KiwiSaver Retirement Age.

What is my KiwiSaver Retirement Age?

For most people, this is the age of eligibility for NZ Superannuation (currently 65). However, if you joined KiwiSaver after age 60, it will be 5 years after you joined.

Can I withdraw my Aussie Transfer Value if I suffer significant financial hardship?

Yes. The money transferred from Australia can be withdrawn in cases of significant financial hardship. Remember, significant financial hardship is subject to trustee approval and there are strict legislative criteria.

Is the money I transfer from Australia taxable?

No. The Aussie Transfer Value will be paid to your New Zealand KiwiSaver Account tax free. When it is ultimately paid out of KiwiSaver, it will also be paid out to you tax free.

Who is eligible to transfer their Australian superannuation to New Zealand?

You may be eligible if you:

  • have returned to New Zealand (or emigrated here) from Australia; and
  • have savings in a complying Australian superannuation fund (self-managed super funds and defined benefit funds are excluded). You can find out which Australian funds comply by using the search engine available at www.superfundlookup.gov.au

You need to be a member of a KiwiSaver scheme before you can transfer your savings. The SuperLife KiwiSaver scheme Product Disclosure Statement is available here.

What if I do not know who my Australian provider is?

If you do not know or are unsure, go to www.ato.gov.au and search "superseeker."

Superseeker will list your Australian super providers. You need your Australian Tax File Number to access this service. If you don't know it, contact the Australian Tax Office (ATO) on +61 2 6216 1111 (you will need to confirm the address ATO holds on file for you before they will provide this information; your former employer in Australia or your Australian bank may be able to provide the address.

How do I transfer?

  • First, contact your Australian super provider(s) to find out their process for transferring;
  • To avoid delays, you will need to provide all of the documentation they request;
  • If you have more than one Australian super account, you will need to contact each provider
  • You need to provide them with your NZ IRD number and your KiwiSaver membership number so that we can identify the payment.

To help you, you can complete the attached form and we will do the initial work for you.

How long will it take?

Your Australian provider has 30 days to complete the transfer. The 30 days starts from the date they receive all the information they need and not when you first apply. You can reduce the time by ensuring you provide all of the documents they require. When we receive the payment from the Australian provider, it will be put in your KiwiSaver immediately. If you have several Australian superannuation funds, payments may arrive at different times.

We will tell you when we receive the money.

Where should my Australian provider pay my savings?

By telegraphic transfer:

Bank name: ASB Bank

Account name: SuperLife

Account number: 12 3244 0039562 00

Payment reference: Use your NZ IRD number (we need this to identify your payment).

 

By cheque:

Payable to the SuperLife KiwiSaver scheme. Ask your provider to print your IRD number on the back of the cheque so we know the payment is for you.