ASB bank has paid out compensation and says it will review its processes after a woman discovered the bank failed to apply for her Government contributions while she was a member of its KiwiSaver scheme.
Debbie, who only wants to be known by her first name, was a member of the ASB KiwiSaver scheme between November 2012 and September 2014 when she switched to a different provider.
She recently checked her IRD KiwiSaver statements and found the $521 annual member tax credit was not paid in during 2014 and was underpaid by $248.57 in 2013 despite her regularly contributing more than $200 a month.
KiwiSaver members get 50c from the Government for every dollar they put into KiwiSaver up to a maximum cap of $1042 - giving an annual payout of up to $521.
It is up to KiwiSaver providers to apply for the Government contribution and the money typically comes into a person's account in July or August after the end of the KiwiSaver financial year on June 30.
Debbie said she was shocked to see the money missing. "It just blew me away. I just thought it was a clerical error."
She contacted the Inland Revenue Department thinking it would be a simple fix given they had records of all the money she had put into KiwiSaver but was told the problem was likely due to her switching KiwiSaver schemes during that period and her provider not claiming for the money.
"IRD were very unhelpful.
"I didn't really know where to turn to."
Debbie said there didn't seem to be any point in contacting her current provider, ANZ, as it wasn't their mistake and as she was no longer with the ASB scheme she didn't know who to contact.
She had to search through her emails to find her ASB customer number from five years ago.
Fortunately, once she got hold of ASB, they sorted out the claim within a few days and also compensated her for the error and loss of investment returns.
"Once I got hold of the right person they were happy to make it right and fix it."
But she believes others may have found it hard to follow up and it has shaken her faith in the system.
"We're all encouraged to contribute regularly in order to get these credits, and told that it will happen automatically, so how many people would be affected in this way and never even realise?"
Debbie urged others to check their IRD KiwiSaver statements which can be looked up online through the myIR service.
An ASB spokeswoman said it could not comment on details relating to individual customers due to privacy reasons but it believed the error was an isolated incident.
"Broadly, there are processes and checks in place to ensure member tax credit claims are sent for each ASB KiwiSaver Scheme member.
"We will continue to review these."
The bank said it had contacted the customer to apologise for any frustration and inconvenience the situation had caused, and to reassure them they would not be out of pocket as a result.
It is not the first time a KiwiSaver provider has had issues with claiming the right amount of Government contributions.
In 2017, ANZ said it was making a member tax credit claim to the IRD after discovering processing errors which had financially impacted 51,000 customers in its KiwiSaver scheme and dated back to 2009.
At the time the bank said most of the underpaid amounts were expected to be $50 or less but it also paid out compensation for the loss of investment returns on the money.
Meade Perrin, Inland Revenue's external relationships leader, said any KiwiSaver member who thought they may be owed a member tax credit from a previous year should talk to their current scheme provider.
"When a member changes scheme provider, their records go with them so the current scheme provider will be able to investigate whether an MTC is owed from a previous year and can arrange for it to be paid.
Perrin said a person's current scheme provider was responsible for arranging the MTC each year.
"It's also responsible for investigating and filing any claim for a previous year's MTC, even if they weren't the member's scheme provider at the time."
He said it was a good idea for KiwiSaver members to check their accounts in July or August to see if the MTC had been paid.
A spokesman for the Financial Markets Authority, which regulates KiwiSaver providers, said KiwiSaver members who were concerned about this issue should contact their provider.
"The best way to check they have received their member tax credit is to check their annual statements, which come through every year, and contain important information, including the fees they have paid in dollar amounts.
"If they have any reason to believe they have received an incorrect amount, they should contact their provider."
How to check yourself:
• Sign up to the myIR service
• Go through your annual statements and check for the tax credit