Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Fair tax for KiwiSaver funds a key election issue


17 April 2014

EMBARGOED UNTIL 6AM, THURSDAY 17 APRIL 2014


Fair tax for KiwiSaver funds a key election issue

In this election year the parties need to say how they will reduce the unfair over-taxation of KiwiSaver funds that prevents most New Zealand employees from achieving a comfortable retirement.

In comments prepared for the Retirement Policy Research Centre’s forum Retirement Income Policy: the future is now, Financial Services Council (FSC) Chief Executive Peter Neilson said: “Only 8% of New Zealanders think they will be comfortable in retirement on the $282 a week after tax being paid by NZ Super. Most people will need two times NZ Super to be comfortable in retirement. Saving to fund a second pension on current policy settings requires most New Zealanders to save more than 10% of their pre-tax income, a big ask for many also paying off a student loan and/or trying to buy a home”.

“For a typical person saving for retirement, just 10% of their retirement earnings comes from the initial contributions and a massive 90% from compound returns - the interest earned on interest on those initial savings. How we tax those compounding returns is therefore crucial in determining how many of us are going to be comfortable in retirement”.

Mr Neilson said New Zealand now has the world’s “most punitive” tax regime for retirement savings when compared with investments in rental housing.

“Someone paying 33% income tax will see over half of their KiwiSaver income (54.7%) go, due to the impact of taxation over 40 years.

“If the same person invested in rental property their effective tax rate would be only 7.9% if the property was geared up by 80%. If that period of ownership dropped down to only 10 years the rental investor would receive a tax credit, a payment from the IRD – effectively a subsidy for investing in rental property. We can’t all be rental property investors,” Mr Neilson said.

“Many people struggle to save for a deposit for the house they live in let alone saving to buy a second home to rent out. Every rental property needs a tenant so at best only half the population can use that savings plan to fund their comfortable retirement.

A practical and fairer policy would be to reduce the KiwiSaver fund tax rates so savers are on a more even tax playing field with rental property investors.

The FSC has suggested cutting the current KiwiSaver fund tax rates of 28%, 17.5% and 10.5% to 15%, 8% and 4.3% respectively, with most of the cost being made up by abolishing the annual $521 KiwiSaver member tax credit.

$288,000 benefit from lowering tax on savings interest:
These proposed changes would mean someone on an average income, if they moved from a conservative to a balanced fund, could cut their KiwiSaver contributions over 40 years by $164,000 and reduce the impact of tax on their KiwiSaver earnings by $288,000.

At a practical level this means a person on an average income would have to save $16 a day rather than $27 (63% less) to achieve a comfortable retirement income.

“Regardless of whether KiwiSaver is universal (compulsory) or voluntary, the over-taxation of KiwiSaver funds has to be addressed,” Mr Neilson says. “Leaders of all parties should say if they support or oppose introducing fair taxes on savings. Fairer taxes will have a huge impact on the future incomes of New Zealanders when they retire.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Housing Policy: Auckland Densification As Popular As Ebola, English Says

Finance Minister Bill English said calls by the Reserve Bank Governor for more densification in Auckland’s housing were “about as popular in parts of Auckland as Ebola” would be. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: NZ Government Deficit Smaller Than Expected In First Half

The New Zealand government's operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first six months of the financial year, as the consumption and corporate tax take rose ahead of forecast in December, having lagged estimates in previous months. More>>

ALSO:

Fruit & Veg Crackdown: Auckland Fruit Fly Find Under Investigation

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating a find of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn... MPI has placed legal controls on the movement of fruit and some vegetables outside of a defined circular area which extends 1.5km from where the fly was trapped in Grey Lynn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Westpac NZ Reaches $2.97M Swaps Settlement

Westpac Banking Corp’s New Zealand unit has agreed to pay $2.97 million in a settlement with the Commerce Commission over the way the bank sold interest rate swaps to farmers between 2005 and 2012. More>>

ALSO:

Going Dutch: Fonterra Kicks Off $144M Partnership With Dutch Cheese Maker

Fonterra Co-operative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has commissioned a new dairy ingredients plant in Heerenveen, in the north of the Netherlands, its first wholly-owned and operated ingredients plant in Europe. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Retail Sales Beat Estimates

New Zealand retail sales rose more than expected in the fourth quarter, led by vehicle-related transactions, food and beverages, adding to evidence that cheap credit and a growing jobs market are encouraging consumers to spend. More>>

ALSO:

Delivery Cuts Go Ahead: 'Government Money Grab' From NZ Post

"It's a money grab by the Government as the shareholder of New Zealand Post" says Postal Workers Union advocate Graeme Clarke about the changes announced by NZ Post. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news