A recent survey has revealed that at least $300 million of potential government contributions weren’t paid into KiwiSaver accounts. More than one million people with KiwiSaver missed out on maximising their savings in a big way. This is essentially free money, and could make a big difference to anyone’s KiwiSaver balance.
The survey conducted by the Commission for Financial Capability, shows many KiwiSaver members are unaware that there’s an incentive put in place by the Government that means you could receive up to $521.43 a year just for contributing to your KiwiSaver account.
The government contribution incentive otherwise known as the KiwiSaver Member Tax Credit (MTC), means the Government will contribute 50 cents for every dollar you contribute to your KiwiSaver account – up to a maximum of $521.43, to boost your savings towards your first home or retirement. To get the maximum credit, you need to contribute at least $1,042.86 during the MTC year (1 July to 30 June), and be eligible for the full year. The KiwiSaver website has more information about the eligibility criteria.
It’s not all or nothing
If you qualify, then every dollar you contribute to your KiwiSaver account, up to the maximum, will reward you with a 50 cent contribution from the Government. And so, even if you can only afford to contribute $500 instead, you’ll still get a $250 contribution from the Government. It’s better than nothing and could make a big difference in the long run!
Topping up is easy
Increase your KiwiSaver savings with a lump sum payment at any time by transferring funds in BNZ Internet Banking, from another bank, or by converting Fly Buys points to contributions. If you want to increase your balance more slowly over time, simply increase your contribution rate.
Are you contributing enough?
It’s up to you to check if you’re contributing enough to make the most of the government contribution. It can be a little tricky to know exactly how much you’ve contributed over the year, especially if you contribute directly through your salary or wages as there’s a delay for your contributions to reach your KiwiSaver account (from the IRD).
To find out your latest balance, register or login to the KiwiSaver website.
As a general rule, if you’re on an annual salary or wages of $35,000 or more and are contributing at a minimum rate of 3% from your pay, then you’re not likely to miss out. If you make voluntary contributions of at least $21 a week or more (for the whole MTC year), you also shouldn’t miss out.
Anything else you need to know?
If you joined KiwiSaver part way through the MTC year, or were eligible for only part of the year (for example, if you turned 18 during the MTC year), then your maximum entitlement will be worked out on a pro-rata basis dependent on how long you qualified to receive it.
- You can register and log in to ‘My KiwiSaver’, a service provided by Inland Revenue, where you can see all of the contributions you’ve made into your KiwiSaver account via your salary or wages.
- If you’re a BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme member, log in to Internet Banking to see your recent balance. Remember, more recent contributions take time to arrive in your KiwiSaver account so visit the Inland Revenue website for your latest balance
- Check your pay slips to see how much you’ve contributed.