Helen Twose

Helen Twose on KiwiSaver and you

Helen Twose: Rules a bit different for the self employed

Add a comment

Contribution options will depend on the status of remuneration - whether or not income is subject to PAYE.

You can still make voluntary contributions to KiwiSaver whenever you want to.
You can still make voluntary contributions to KiwiSaver whenever you want to.

I will soon be working as a self-employed contractor. At the moment I am in waged employment and signed up to KiwiSaver, contributing 3 per cent a week plus employer contributions.

What are my obligations to KiwiSaver as a self-employed person?

Does it change much? What is recommended?

You don't have to be an employee to be part of KiwiSaver, but the rules are a bit different.

If you will not receive PAYE income as a contractor - for example, if you are going to invoice for your contract work - your employment status will change to self-employed and you will not be required to make any contributions to your KiwiSaver account.

You can still make voluntary contributions to KiwiSaver whenever you want to - although you will need to check with your provider if there is a minimum amount to contribute.

You won't get employer contributions, but you will still be eligible for the maximum "member tax credit" of $521.43 from the Government provided you contribute at least $1042.86 per KiwiSaver year and you continue to live in New Zealand.

If you are self-employed and your income is subject to PAYE deductions, you will be considered an employee for the purposes of KiwiSaver.

This means the KiwiSaver contributions minimum of 3 per cent will continue to be deducted from your gross salary or wage, and you must also make the minimum employer's contribution of 3 per cent.

If that is not what you want to do, provided you have been a KiwiSaver member for at least one year, you could consider taking a "contributions holiday", where any contributions are made by you voluntarily and you would not be required to make employer contributions.

You can take a contributions holiday of between three months and five years.

There's no limit to the number of times you can take a contributions holiday.

•Joe Bishop, Gareth Morgan Investments head of retail wealth and marketing.

I'm 18 months away from retirement age and have been in KiwiSaver since 2011.

I'm unsure about when and how I can access my funds.

Does my provider get in touch? What are my options?

With bank interest rates as low as they are I'm tempted to leave it in but I also don't want the balance whittled away by fees.

You become eligible to withdraw all your savings from KiwiSaver when you qualify for New Zealand Super (currently at the age of 65) or when you have been a member of KiwiSaver for a minimum of five years, whichever comes later.

Therefore, you will not be eligible to access your KiwiSaver savings until 2016.

Your KiwiSaver provider will be able to confirm the exact date when you can access your savings.

To access your savings (once you're eligible) you will need to complete a retirement withdrawal form and send it back with any supporting documents to your KiwiSaver provider.

You will be able to get the form directly from your KiwiSaver provider.

If your application is approved your KiwiSaver provider will make a payment directly to your nominated bank account.

Your KiwiSaver provider may contact you to let you know when you're eligible for a retirement withdrawal but you should check to see if that's the case.

Once you retire you will have the following options:

•Leave your savings right where they are to keep taking advantage of some of the benefits KiwiSaver provides.

•Talk to an adviser about your retirement plan and investment options.

•Withdraw some or all of your savings.

Once you're eligible to withdraw your KiwiSaver savings you will be able to withdraw your savings as a lump sum or as a partial payment.

You may also be able to set up a regular withdrawal.

You should contact your KiwiSaver provider to find out your options.

If you're still working and wish to stop your contributions after becoming able to access your savings you should talk to your employer.

Furthermore, you should also talk to your employer regarding any employer contributions you are receiving.

Your employer is not obliged to continue contributing once you turn 65; however, they may choose to continue.

Below are some of the advantages of staying in KiwiSaver:

•KiwiSaver is a cost-effective investment option.

•Your savings will continue to be managed by experts in their fields.

•You will continue to receive up-to-date information about your savings.

•Fiona Oliver, AMP general manager wealth management.

•Disclaimer: Information provided is stated accurately to the best of the respondent's knowledge at the time of publication. It is general in nature and should not be construed, or relied on, as a recommendation to invest in a particular financial product or class of financial product. Readers should seek independent financial advice specific to their situation before making an investment decision.

To have your KiwiSaver questions answered by the NZ Herald's panel of industry players email Helen Twose, helentwose@gmail.com.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 01 Aug 2014 00:29:12 Processing Time: 610ms