FAQ

What is the smallest contribution that I can make every month?

The minimum monthly contribution to MRS is 4% of your pay before tax and the minimum monthly contribution to MKS is 3% of your pay before tax, there is no maximum limit.

If you are not working, you can make voluntary contributions of at least $50 per month direct to MKS, or make occasional lump sum contributions of at least $500.

How much does my employer pay to my superannuation every month?

Your employer pays the same as your contribution up to a maximum of 7% of your pay before tax. So if you decide to contribute 7% then so does your employer, if you contribute 10% then your employer contributes the maximum of 7%.

If your employer normally contributes to your superannuation you can ask them to pay some of those contributions to MKS.

Why is it that even though my employer and I both contribute 7%, my employer’s contribution received by the Fund is less than mine?

This is because your employer has to deduct withholding tax from their contributions before paying it into the MRS or MKS. Depending on your tax rate the withholding tax maybe 33% or 21%.

How long can I contribute to the MRS or MKS?

For as long as you work in the maritime industry (your employer may stop contributing when you turn 65). After you leave the maritime industry, if you have a deferred benefit account then you can contribute for as long as you like.

What is the government contributing?

The government is contributing a tax credit matching your contributions up to a maximum of approximately $10 per week.

How do I get my tax credits?

As long as you make contributions during the year you will automatically get your tax credits. The tax credit year runs from 1 July to 30 June. After 30 June each year WIKS will make a claim to IRD on your behalf for your tax credits. IRD will pay the amount to MKS to be added to your account. As long as you contribute the equivalent of approximately $10 per week you will receive the maximum tax credits.

In your first and last year’s of membership the tax credits will be pro rated for the number of week’s membership in that year.

Can I split my contributions between investment strategies?

Yes, but only in whole percentages. For example, if you are contributing 7%, you could put 5% in the balanced strategy and 2% in the conservative strategy. If you are also a member of MKS you can make a different investment choice for each scheme.

Can I change my contribution rate?

Yes, but you will need to tell your employer so that they can arrange for it to be deducted from your wages. If you are splitting your contributions between different investment strategies you will also need to tell the Administration Manager how to apply the increase or decrease.

Can I stop contributing?

Once you have joined the MRS you are required to keep contributing as long as you are working in the maritime industry.

After you have contributed to MKS for twelve months you can apply to the IRD for a contributions holiday. The contributions holiday can be for as little as three months or as long as five years. They can also be rolled over. If you are also a member of MRS, taking a contributions holiday may affect your entitlements under that scheme, particularly your entitlement to a death benefit.

What happens if I do stop my contributions?

Two things will happen:

  1. You will lose out on your employers contributions
  2. You will no longer have death benefit cover (which is equivalent to life insurance).

As soon as you start contributing again the employers contributions and death benefit will begin again.

When can I get my super?

For MRS you can get your super when you leave your employment in the maritime industry or when you reach age 65.

For MKS its slightly different, you can get your super when you reach age 65 or have been a member for five years, whichever is later.

What can I get from MKS if I am ill or leaving the country?

Subject to criteria set out in the KiwiSaver rules, in circumstances of ill-health, disability, financial hardship or permanent emigration you can withdraw some of your KiwiSaver account. You cannot generally withdraw the kick start or the tax credits.

How much will my benefit be from MRS?

That depends on why you are leaving. If you are:

  • retiring at age 60 or older (Waterfront members and some Seafarer members) or 65 years (Seafarer members who joined after 1 January 1996),
  • being made redundant,
  • leaving because of ill health or disability, or
  • leaving after being a member for at least 5 years (Waterfront members) or 20 years (Seafarer members)

you will be paid the total value of your members account including all your employer’s contributions and income earned.

What will my benefit be if I just want to leave MRS but haven’t been a member for 5 years (Waterfront members) or 20 years (Seafarer members)?

Waterfront members: You have a number of choices:

  1. If you want a cash benefit you will get your own contributions plus income earned. In addition, you will also get 20% of your employers’ contributions and income earned for each complete year of membership up to a maximum of 100% after 5 years.
  2. If you defer payment until you have been a member for at least 5 years (or age 60 if that comes first) you will also get your employers contributions and income earned.
  3. If you join another scheme outside the industry you can transfer your total account balance to that scheme. (There are some limitations on this.)

Seafarer members: You have a number of choices:

  1. Less than 3 years membership, if you want a cash benefit you will get your own contributions plus income earned, you will get none of your employers’ contributions or the income earned on them.
  2. After being a member for 3 years, if you want a cash benefit you will get your own contributions plus income earned. In addition, you will also get 5% of your employers’ contributions and income earned for each complete year of membership up to a maximum of 100% after 20 years.
  3. If you defer payment until you have been a member for at least 20 years (or age 65) if that comes first) you will also get your employers contributions and income earned.
  4. If you join another scheme outside the industry you can transfer your total account balance to that scheme. (There are some limitations on this.)

 

 

 

Do I have to take a lump sum payment?

No you don’t. You have two other options:

  1. You can defer payment of all or part of your benefit for as long as you like. If you choose this option then the Trustees will continue to invest your savings for you but you can make part withdrawals from time-to-time including regular monthly withdrawals
  2. You can use all or part of your benefits to buy a pension from the Fund which will be paid to you for the rest of your life

What happens to my benefits if I die?

If you die while you are working in the maritime industry and both you and your employer are contributing to the Fund, your estate will be entitled to the total value of your members account plus an additional death benefit based on your age, contribution rate and earnings. The Trustees will pay your benefits to the person that you have named as your executor (the person to look after your estate for you). If you are leaving your benefits to a spouse or partner your executor can choose to defer payment of the benefits and arrange for your beneficiary to make withdrawals in the future in the same way that you would have been able to.

If you die your estate will be entitled to the total value of your WIKS account. It may also be entitled to an additional death benefit based on your age, contribution rate and earnings. This only applies if both you and your employer are contributing at least 4% at the time of your death. The Trustees will pay your benefits to the person that you have named as your executor (the person to look after your estate for you). If you are leaving your benefits to a spouse or partner your executor can choose to defer payment of the benefits and arrange for your beneficiary to make withdrawals in the future in the same way that you would have been able to.

Can I withdraw any of my benefits while I’m working?

Only if you are 65 or older or have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Can I use my benefits as security for a loan?

No you can’t. The Trust Deed strictly forbids this. Your superannuation benefits are for your retirement and no other party can have a claim on them.

When I retire do I have to take a lump sum payment?

No you don’t. You have two other options:

  1. You can defer payment of all or part of your benefit for as long as you like. If you choose this option then the Trustees will continue to invest your savings for you but you can make part withdrawals from time-to-time including regular monthly withdrawals
  2. You can use all or part of your benefits to buy a pension from the Fund which will be paid to you for the rest of your life

What is a PIE?

PIE stands for Portfolio Investment Entity. These are special types of pooled investment funds which have a number of tax advantages. The main advantage is that individual investors can be taxed at their own marginal tax rate,  rather than the flat 33% rate which has previously applied to most pooled investments like superannuation funds. Investors nominate either 10.5%, 17.5% or 28% as their tax rate.

Is the Fund a PIE?

The Fund became a PIE from 1 October 2007 which is when the PIE tax regime started.

What is a PIR?

PIR stands for Prescribed Investor Rate. For individuals this is either 10.5%, 17.5% or 28%. It is the rate at which tax on your share of the Fund’s investment income will be paid.

How do I work out my PIR?

Your PIR is based on your taxable income in the last two tax years i.e. years ended 31 March. You should elect the 10.5% rate if:

Your gross taxable income in either of the last two years was less than $48,000,

You should elect the 17.5% rate if:

Your gross taxable income plus your PIE allocated income was between $48,001 to $70,000.

Your gross taxable income includes your wages, interest, rents etc.

If your income is over these limits then your tax rate is 28%.

Can I change my PIR?

Yes, you can change your PIR by completing a new declaration. The new rate will only be applied from the time the Fund receives it. It cannot be backdated.

What tax does the Fund pay?

The Fund pays tax on its investment income. The amount  of tax varies depending on the type of investment. As a PIE the Fund will pay these taxes:

  • NZ Shares –dividends are taxed
  • Australian Shares – most are taxed on dividends but a few are taxed the same as global shares
  • Global Shares –a number of options exist but generally tax is based on 5% of the opening market value of the shares
  • Property – net rental income is taxed
  • Fixed Interest – interest income and changes in market value is taxed
  • The tax payable is calculated on each member’s share of taxable income at the member’s individual tax rate

Do I have to pay any tax?

No, the tax the Fund pays on members’ behalf is meant to be a final tax. As long as you give us the correct PIR there is no further tax payable. However, if you give us a rate of 17.5% when your rate should be 28% then IRD may require you to complete a tax return and pay more tax. They may also impose penalties on the unpaid tax.

What about refunds?

No, if you give the Fund a rate of 28% when your rate should be 17.5% the IRD will not pay any refunds.

How do I make a complaint?

The Trustees have established a process to deal with any complaints that members might have.

The process is confidential, providing members with the ability to be satisfied that all their dealings with the Scheme have been handled properly. The first step is to contact either the Trustees or the Administration Manager in confidence to set out your complaint. Members also have the right to send their complaints directly to the Scheme’s external disputes resolution service, Financial Services Complaints Limited (FSCL).  Contact details can be found on our Contact Us page.