Transferring Superannuation Between Aussie & NZ
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. New Zealanders, who have returned home after working in Australia but have since lost track of their retirement savings accumulated in Australia, should use the Australian Taxation Office website to check for any lost accounts: www.ato.gov.au/superseeker.
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
Changes to Online GST Returns
The IRD have made changes to the way you file your GST returns.
In September last year the IRD introduced the eGST filing service. Now the decision has been made to remove the ability for the public to access the standard online form, meaning customers will need to change their filing methods and register to file their returns through MyIR.
The IRD will have sent a letter to all clients in July notifying them of the change. In addition to this a new GST email service has been established to alert customers registered with MyIR that their GST return is available, three days before it's due.
For more information on the changes to online GST returns, visit www.ird.govt.nz
We welcome Johnathan Brass, Jacinta Derriman, Solomon Ratnam, Sharee Bentley and Helen Sanders who have all joined us since Christmas.
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Gift Duty Has Been Abolished
Legislation has now been passed to abolish gift duty from 1 October 2011. Government officials and Inland Revenue officers have made it clear that current NZ legislation will be used in future to prevent individuals from divesting themselves of assets overnight to defeat creditors, relationship partners and Government agencies providing social assistance (rest home fee subsidies, student loans etc).
Gifts defined as 'extraordinary', ie, they exceed $27,000 may be subject to claw back at any time and legislation such as the Insolvency Act, the Property Law Act and Social Security regulations will be used in future to police this area. The message is clear - with the abolition of gift duty, current legislation will increasingly be used along with organisational changes to police this area by the likes of WINZ, IRD, the Official Assignee and other agencies. Long story short - substantial gifts should not be undertaken without seeking professional advice.
The government wants more real saving by New Zealanders and less input from the government coffers. Changes should save the country $2.6 billion in 4 years, money that would have to be borrowed.
Please note that Kick-Start payments will remain unchanged.
- The Member Tax Credit (a government subsidy) will be halved to a maximum of $10 per week - effective 1 July 2011.
- Employer contributions will no longer be tax-free from 1 April 2012. Employer Superannuation Contribution Tax will apply at the employee marginal tax rate
- On 1 April 2013 minimum contributions from both employer and employee will rise from 2% to 3% (employees/members can still opt to contribute 4% or 8%).
Minor changes to the Student Loan system will be implemented in the next 2 years:
The repayment threshold will remain at $19,084 until 31 March 2015 and there has been no change to the general interest-free treatment of loans.
- Students with overdue payments of $500 or more, and who are in default for over a year will have restricted eligibility for further loans.
- Students aged 55 or over will be eligible to borrow for tuition fees only
- Part time students will no longer be eligibe to borrow for course related costs
- The repayment holiday for borrowers offsore will be reduced from three years to one, and borrowers will be required to apply for the holiday, providing a NZ based contact before they leave.
We now offer a service to clients checking your details and case status with ACC, just as we do with the IRD. You could be on the wrong classification, eg farming, when maybe it should be "passive' or 'admin'. The savings can be signficant and can, in some cases, be back dated.
A number of clients have asked that we just 'attend' to all of their AC cover and premium requirements. We can certainly do this for a very reasonable annual cost so let us know if this service interests you. For forther information contact Simon Clouston on 03) 4400100 or email email@example.com
If you have a family member considering using this or any other service to calculate tax refunds, they should contact us first. When these services are used to check a person's tax situation, that person is delinked from their current accounting provider. If they have other sources of income from say a Trust and their Personal Tax Summary is finalised without including this income and they receive a tax refund, they will be liable for Use of Money Interest. It would also mean that in the future we would not receive details of information relating to that person from the IRD.
We now have a full range of payment options available including Cash, Cheque, EFTPOS, Credit Card (excluding American Express and Diners Card), direct debit and internet banking as well as monthly payment options. Feel free to enquire if you are interested in paying regular monthly payments.