Q: We enrolled our New Zealand-born children into KiwiSaver but moved to the UK for family reasons. We are keen to keep the savings scheme open for them - can we while they are living elsewhere? Neither of them is working yet but can we pay into the scheme for them from overseas?The rules are the same for adults and children moving overseas. For those emigrating to Australia it is legally possible to move KiwiSaver funds to a superannuation provider there.

A:

The legislation has been in place for several years for retirement savings to shift between New Zealand and Australia but it is entirely voluntary for providers to accept the funds.

New Zealand KiwiSaver providers will happily take funds transferred from Australian super accounts but it's a different story with Australian providers, who have been slow to get the systems in place to take KiwiSaver funds.

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Many Kiwis have found willing Australian providers thin on the ground. It's to be hoped this will change in time.

People like you who move permanently overseas anywhere other than Australia can opt to withdraw everything in their KiwiSaver account, except any member tax credits earned, and close the account.

You need to be living away from New Zealand for at least a year and must prove the move is permanent before you can do this.

If circumstances change and you decide to come back to live in New Zealand it is possible to re-open your KiwiSaver account.

Or you can just leave it open, which sounds like what you plan to do with your children's accounts.

There should be no problem with your making contributions to their KiwiSaver accounts while you're away but you'll need to check with their KiwiSaver provider for the specifics on how to do it.

Some rules may apply to do with minimum payments and frequency.

Any voluntary contributions you make while you're overseas won't be eligible for the member tax credits - a 50-cent-in-the-dollar match by the Government on your contributions of up to $1042.86.

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The only exceptions involve working either as a Government employee serving outside New Zealand, or as a volunteer, or for a token payment for a specified charitable organisation, relieving poverty, hunger or sickness.

Children under 18 aren't eligible to receive the tax credit, even if they are still living in New Zealand.

The member tax credit only kicks in when children turn 18, as does the requirement for employers to pay a contribution.