Subsidy deadline looming

Damian Foster.
Damian Foster.
Kiwisaver members aged 18 and over wanting to receive the maximum Government contribution to their accounts need to ensure by Friday they have contributed enough to receive the full $522.86 subsidy.

Forsyth Barr savings specialist Damian Foster said yesterday members wanting to contribute by cheque would need to pay into their accounts today, while those paying through internet banking could probably do so up until the end of business on Friday.

Savers have to put in $1043 for the year to June 30 to be eligible for the full amount, which has halved from previous years.

Until this year, savers were matched by the Government for every dollar they invested up to the maximum of $1045.

But the Government cut back the subsidy in the 2011 Budget, meaning savers get only 50 cents for every dollar they invested up to the maximum.

Savers can check their balance with either the Inland Revenue or their provider to see how much they have contributed so far this year and then make a top-up if needed.

A spokesman for Inland Revenue said that as long as any lump sum payments were banked into the relevant account no later than the last business day before June 30 they would be included for the tax credit entitlement.

Mr Foster said he had sent out letters to his clients alerting them to the possible need to contribute more to their accounts to qualify for the full payment.

Those earning $52,000 and above, and contributing 2% of their salary, would qualify. But those earning less, and those in part-time work, would need to contribute more to qualify.

If a saver had contributed $800 in the year, the Government top-up would be $400 and if someone had contributed $2000, they would still only be eligible for the $522.86, he said.

"What catches some people out is the KiwiSaver year goes from July 1 to June 30 and not from January 1 until December 31."

Inland Revenue figures for the year to June 30, 2011, showed just 45% of members - or around 420,000 people - received the full subsidy.

Mr Foster said people who had enrolled family members under 18 did not need to top up the accounts because they were not eligible for the Government contribution.

Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan said savers needed to ask themselves if they could afford to make the top-up.

She urged those who could afford it to make the most of the subsidy.

Self-employed people were one of the groups most likely to miss out if they did not meet the minimum contribution rate.


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