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Australian Superannuation Transfers

Regulations for trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability are now in effect. Individuals can transfer their retirement savings between Australia and New Zealand to consolidate their savings in one account in their country of residence.

Retirement savings transferred from Australia may only be transferred into a KiwiSaver scheme in New Zealand. If you are not a member of KiwiSaver, you will need to open a KiwiSaver account - apply online now.

Our complimentary Australian Superannuation Transfer Service can help you with transferring your savings. If you are interested, please complete the Australian Superannuation Transfer Information Request form and return to your nearest branch.

The following is general information only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Craigs Investment Partners is not a tax or legal professional. We recommend you seek independent advice on tax or legal related queries regarding any superannuation scheme.

At a Glance

  • Australian superannuation must be transferred into a KiwiSaver scheme
  • Australian superannuation transfers do not qualify for a first home withdrawal
  • Australian superannuation transfers can be accessed when members turn 60, providing they have retired
  • Superannuation transfers between the two countries will be exempt from entry and exit taxes
  • Participation is voluntary, it is not compulsory to transfer your funds

What are the Benefits of Trans-Tasman Superannuation Portability? 
Consolidation of retirement savings  You can consolidate your retirement savings into one scheme in your country of residence.  
One fund to manage  Difficulties of managing multiple investments denominated in different currencies in two different countries will be eliminated.  
One relationship to manage  Only one provider to deal with if you wish to make changes to your investments or make a withdrawal.  
Reduced costs  You may reduce management fees and scheme expenses by consolidating into a single scheme.  
Simplified reporting  You will receive just one statement from a single provider showing your retirement savings. 

Next Steps

1. Ensure you have your Australian Superannuation account details - The Australian Taxation Office provides a complimentary tracking service which is available on their website, http://www.ato.gov.au. You will need your Australian Tax File Number so if you cannot find this download the Searching for Lost Super form.

2. Seek Advice - Contact a Craigs Investment Partners Adviser or our Superannuation Transfers team on 0800-878-278. Alternatively you can download and read the Investment Statements or contact our START team to request a hard copy to be posted to you.

Further Information

If you have further questions about trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability, visit the Government’s KiwiSaver website.

Superannuation savings from Australia can be transferred to either of our registered KiwiSaver schemes. If you would like to learn more or obtain an Product Disclosure Statement for our registered KiwiSaver schemes, click on the links below:

Alternatively, you can contact a Craigs Investment Partners Adviser, our Superannuation Transfers team or phone +64-7-577-6049 outside NZ or 0800-878-278 within NZ.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on Frequently Asked Questions heading for further information.

What are the key features for transferring my Australian retirement savings to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme or vice versa?

Australian retirement savings - Australian retirement savings that are transferred to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme:

  • can be accessed at the age of 60 if they meet the Australian definition of "retired" and/or in the event of approval of a significant financial hardship or serious illness claim;
  • cannot be withdrawn to purchase a first home and are not entitled to a Member Tax Credit; and
  • cannot be subsequently transferred to a third country.

KiwiSaver retirement savings - KiwiSaver retirement savings that are transferred to an Australian scheme regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority:

  • can be accessed when the member reaches the age of retirement as defined in the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 (currently 65); 
  • cannot be transferred to or held in self managed superannuation funds; and
  • cannot be subsequently transferred to a third country.

Have you lost track of your Australian superannuation?

If you have worked in Australia at any time since 1992 then you may have funds in an Australian superannuation scheme. If you are not sure whether you have a balance, use the complimentary tracking service 'SuperSeeker' provided by the Australian Taxation Office, for locating any lost super accounts. To use this service: 

When using this service, you will be asked to provide:

  • Your full name 
  • Your Australian tax file number (TFN)
  • Your date of birth

If you have forgotten your TFN, call the Australian Tax Office on +61 132 861 during weekdays. Alternatively, you can download the Searching for Lost Super form. You'll need to send the completed form to the Australian Taxation Office: PO Box 3578, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.

What happens to unclaimed Australian superannuation funds?

Accounts of ‘lost’ members or accounts that have been inactive for five years and have a balance of A$2,000 or less have been paid to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and will accrue interest from 1 July 2013 at the Australian CPI Rate.

Balances of over A$2,000 remain with the existing Australian superannuation fund.

How do I get funds held by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) transferred to New Zealand?

Funds cannot be transferred direct from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to your KiwiSaver account. Funds must first be transferred to an open Australian Super Fund account in your name from where they can then be transferred to New Zealand. If you do not have an open account you will be able to open one from New Zealand – all you will need is your Australian Tax File Number (TFN).

Once your Australian Super Fund account is open download the Payment of Unclaimed Superannuation Money form and return to the ATO.

What are my investment options?

You should take this opportunity to review your current investment needs and goals to ensure your investments are suitable. The suitability of the investments offered by KiwiSaver providers is a key consideration. Compared to some Australian super funds KiwiSaver providers may offer limited choice and flexibility.

In Australia self-managed super schemes allow investors the opportunity to invest in direct shares, managed funds and residential property.

In New Zealand, Craigs Investment Partners allows you to invest directly into securities along with managed funds.

Movements between the New Zealand dollar (NZD) and the Australian dollar (AUD) affect the value of your fund. If the NZD appreciates against the AUD, then the value of any Australian denominated retirement savings decreases. By moving your funds into one currency you can eliminate currency risk and ensure that your investments are denominated in the currency that you intend to receive when you retire.

What are the tax implications?

Funds will be subject to the tax rules of the country they are transferred to. Both Governments have indicated that they will exempt retirement savings transfers between the two countries from any entry or exit taxes.

Earnings from Australian superannuation schemes are generally taxed at a rate of 15%. There is a concessional rate of 10% on capital gains if assets are held for longer than 12 months. In contrast, KiwiSaver investment earnings are taxed at either your Prescribed Investor Rate (PIR) at 10.5%, 17.5% or 28% or at a flat rate of 28%.

The calculation of assessable income differs between Australia and New Zealand, so although schemes pay a different rate of tax, they do not pay tax on the same income. The actual tax outcome will depend on the assets and structure of the schemes and a direct comparison is difficult.

Should tax be the major driver behind my decision to transfer?

No. Tax benefits of transferring will differ for each individual and this is not the intended purpose of the change in legislation. We suggest you seek professional tax advice to discuss the tax implications of transferring your superannuation savings.

What happens to my insurance benefits?

Insurance is not offered within KiwiSaver schemes. Australian superannuation funds may provide life cover, total and permanent disability insurance and income protection insurance. The premiums are paid from the scheme. If your Australian superannuation includes these benefits, you need to be aware: 

  • if you transfer to KiwiSaver any cover you have may lapse;
  • KiwiSaver schemes do not include insurance options;
  • if circumstances of your health have changed since your original insurance commenced there may be implications on new insurance; and
  • if you require replacement insurance this should be in place before you transfer to ensure continuity of your cover

To find out if you have any cover with your Australian superannuation contact your provider as this cover may be lost if you transfer your retirement savings.

What about fees?

Fees and expenses are an important consideration. It is often better to have one larger balance, as opposed to many smaller balances, especially where schemes charge fixed fees or have minimum charges.

You need to understand the fees and expenses charged within your Australian scheme and compare these, along with investment performance, with the charges and performance of your New Zealand KiwiSaver account.

Transfers of retirement savings will be exempt from any entry or exit taxes.

When will I be able to access my funds?

Australian superannuation is available to access when you reach the age of 60 and meet the specified retirement criteria. This is earlier than the current KiwiSaver entitlement age of 65. This means you could access the Australian portion of your KiwiSaver savings if you decide to retire early.

It is important to note that you will not be able to withdraw your Australian superannuation funds for the purpose of buying your first home.

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

Yes, Australian savings transferred to New Zealand will be subject to KiwiSaver rules regarding significant financial hardship and serious illness access. Likewise, New Zealand savings transferred to Australia will be subject to Australian rules regarding financial hardship and serious illness access.

What documents do I need to provide in order to transfer my savings from Australia to New Zealand?

Until the process has been finalised we don’t know what information, documentation or authorisations will be required. We will provide more information once this has been confirmed.

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Disclaimer

The Craigs KiwiSaver Scheme (Craigs KiwiSaver) is issued and managed by Craigs Investment Partners Superannuation Management Limited. The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited is the supervisor of Craigs KiwiSaver. None of The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited, Craigs Investment Partners Superannuation Management Limited (or any director of those entities) or any other person, guarantees the performance or returns of Craigs KiwiSaver, or the return of capital. Investments made in Craigs KiwiSaver are subject to investment and other risks (including those set out in the Craigs KiwiSaver Scheme Product Disclosure Statement) and are not guaranteed by the manager, the supervisor or any other person.