Sorting Out The Finances and other day to day matters

Sorting Out The Finances and other day to day matters

As part of your move abroad journey, you will need to consider day to day financial aspects. The aspects in this blog post, whilst specific to New Zealand, can be used as a guide to the things you will need to take into consideration whichever country you decide to move to. Part of the process will be to open bank accounts, register for taxes and obtain your unique tax number.

Prior to leaving the UK, you may also want to consider opening an off- shore account. An off shore bank account is an international bank account that can be used for day to day purposes. It is extremely flexible and may be accessed from any location. It will enable you to transfer funds to your new country. If you are selling your home or will have a large sum of funds to transfer, then this may be the easiest method to transfer funds.

As well as opening bank accounts in New Zealand, you will find it useful to keep a UK bank account maintained. This will enable you to keep your current bank accounts and continue banking with ease and meet any last minute bills or outstanding matters that may crop up on the other end of the world. Before leaving your country of origin, ensure that you have finalized any existing financial obligations; unpaid bills do have a habit of catching up with you even if you decide to go half way across the world. Start with your own bank first and find out, if they are able to make your account a ‘not ordinarily resident’ account, in which your interest will be paid without the deduction of tax. With the advent of online banking, you can have easy access to your accounts twenty-four hours a day every day of the week wherever you are in the world.

When you arrive in New Zealand you will need to open up local bank accounts. Again this can be arranged prior to leaving, by contacting the migrant banking section of your chosen bank. We used the migrant service and when we arrived the account was opened on the day and I was Issued with my EFTPOS card there and then. EFTPOS stands for Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale. It is a system widely used in New Zealand and Australia. One reason for using the EFTPOS card is because there isn’t a one cent coin in New Zealand, but items may still be priced at 29-99. If
you pay with your EFTPOS you pay the exact amount, if you pay by cash it is rounded up and you effectively pay 210. So over time all those cents add up and you will understand why many New Zealanders opt for the use of the EFTPOS card and why you will need one.

You should also register for taxes by obtaining your unique tax number called an IRD from the Internal Revenue Department. This number is the equivalent to a national insurance number, but is issued to adults and children if they wish to open a bank account or need to pay taxes. It is a simple matter to obtain an IRD number; they can be obtained at any Automobile Association (AA) Driver Licensing Agents or PostShop. You will need to complete an application form (more forms!!), and provide a photo and identity documents. It’s a simple process and you should attend
to it early on after your arrival.

You will need to change over your driver’s licence for a drivers licence in your new destination. UK licence holders can simply obtain a New Zealand licence without having to undertake any further tests and you should check with the driver licensing authority if you hold a drivers licence from another country as to the requirement. Whilst we were there on a visit back in 2010, New Zealand allowed 15 year olds to obtain their driving licence on a restricted licence basis. The restriction meant that young drivers were only able to drive between certain hours, only between 6am and 10 pm. I must say, it was a scary thought that my daughter would have been able to drive a lethal object in less than a year after we had arrived. This rule has since changed from August 2011 and has been raised to 16 years old for a restricted licence.

Whilst on the subject of licences this leads me onto to driving. I really need to mention the now redundant rule of give way to the right when turning left. In New Zealand, a vehicle turning left must give way to an on coming vehicle making a right hand turn into the same road. Or to put it another way, when making a right hand turn across oncoming traffic, you need only give way to cars proceeding straight ahead. Oncoming vehicles turning left must give way to you. Clear? Didn’t think so. I can’t tell you how I despised this rule and could never remember when I had to give way or not. The number of near misses is testimony to this, thank you to my guardian angel you may relax now. My best option was usually to wait until a driver hooted at me, and then I knew that I had the right of way to go. It was confusing to say the least. But now you don’t have to worry or try to get your head around this rule, because from March 2012 this give way rule was changed and is now in line with the rest of the world. Thank goodness sanity has prevailed.

Great, so by now you have bank accounts all set up, registered with the necessary tax and revenue departments and learnt the rules of the road. I think you are well on the road to becoming a Kiwi.

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