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First Home Buyers Deposit Saver Scheme

Australians aged 18 and over at last have some help to save for their first home. The First Home Buyers Deposit Saver Scheme became a reality today as the first accounts were made available by a couple of the major banks.

The buyers should get help today from the professionals to save the money while getting a home loan. There is a need to pay attention on the accounts for the paying the debt. The collection of the information about them is essential for the people to have the best results. 

The scheme essentially provides the opportunity for free money from the government. The more you can save for a deposit on your first home the less likely you will be slugged mortgage lenders insurance by your home loan lender. If you can keep your lvr below 80%, that is have a deposit of at least 20%, you can save thousands.

You could use the money not wasted on lenders mortgage insurance to furnish your new home.

Here are the facts:

The following is an extract from the official fact sheet presented by the Government of Australia Treasury 2008.

First Home Saver Accounts – Fact Sheet –

Account Holders Overview:

First Home Saver Accounts (FHSAs) are the first of their kind in Australia and will provide a simple, tax effective way for Australians to save for their first home through a combination of Government contributions and low taxes.

Eligibility

An individual can open an account if they: are aged 18 or over and under 65;

have not previously purchased or built a first home in which to live; do not have, or have not previously had, a First Home Saver Account; and provide their tax file number to the provider.

Penalties will apply if a person opens an account where they are not eligible to do so.

Contribution arrangements

Contributions may be made by the account holder or another party, such as an employer, on behalf of the account holder. Contributions will be made from after-tax income. The Government will make additional contributions which will be paid directly into the account, after the individual has lodged their tax return and the provider has submitted the relevant information to the ATO. The Government will contribute 17 per cent on the first $5,000 (indexed) of individual contributions made each year. This means an individual contributing $5,000 will receive a Government contribution of $850. No minimum annual deposit is needed to keep the account open. The account can remain open for as long as necessary or until the account holder turns 65, at which time it must be closed.

Level of tax on accounts

Contributions will not be subject to tax when contributed to an account. Investment earnings (or interest) will be taxed at a rate of 15 per cent. Withdrawals will be tax free. FHSA balances will be exempt from the income and assets test.

Account balance limit

There will be a limit of $75,000 (indexed) on the overall account balance. If an individual reaches the account balance cap, no further individual contributions will be able to be made. Earnings and any outstanding Government contributions will still be able to be credited to the account after this time.

Contributions that exceed the limit will be returned to the account holder.

Four-year savings horizon

To withdraw their funds, minimum contributions of $1,000 need to be made over the course of at least four separate financial years. If an account holder is purchasing a property with another individual(s) who also holds an account, only one account holder needs to meet the four-year requirement. If one person meets this, then the other individual(s) can also withdraw their funds.

Withdrawals for a first home purchase

Individuals will be able to withdraw their account balance tax free to buy or build a first home in which to live. The full amount will need to be withdrawn and the account closed. The individual will need to live in the home for at least 6 months within the first 12 months of purchase or completion of construction. Individuals can close their account and contribute the full amount to superannuation at any time. Penalties will apply to individuals where they fail to meet the withdrawal or occupancy criteria.

Other circumstances

Where an individual’s circumstances change during the life of the account so that they no longer wish to purchase a first home, they will not be able to access the account but can transfer the balance into superannuation and close the account. Penalties will apply if funds are withdrawn and not used to purchase a first home in which to live. If an individual moves overseas, they can continue to make contributions into the account, but will not receive any Government contributions. Individuals will be able to access their funds tax free once they reach age 60, consistent with superannuation.

Early release provisions

By transferring the account balance into superannuation, individuals may apply to access the superannuation early release provisions of severe financial hardship, compassionate grounds or terminal illness.

Account providers

Public-offer superannuation providers, life insurers, friendly societies, banks, building societies and credit unions will be able to offer the accounts. Banks, building societies and credit unions will be able to offer deposit accounts and superannuation providers, life insurers and friendly societies will be able to offer investment-linked accounts.

Anyone who is eligible should pursue this opportunity. Parents should encourage children, grand parents should encourage grand children. Speak to your mortgage broker, visit your bank or credit union. Get it happening, its free money.

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