First home saver accounts

A new government scheme provides incentives for new home buyers, but watch for traps.
 
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08.FAQs and contacts

FAQ

Can I open an account for my 18-year-old daughter to help her save for a deposit?

No, but if your daughter opens an account, you can contribute to it. If you manage to contribute $5000 each year, assuming an average return of 4% per annum, in ten years’ time the account would be worth over $70,000. And it’d be worth even more if your daughter contributes to the account too!

Can my partner and I both open an account and use the combined savings for a deposit?

Yes. As long as at least one of you satisfies the four year rule you can withdraw your money and combine the balance of your accounts to assist with your home purchase. I plan to spend a year working and travelling abroad.

Can I take a break from contributions?

Yes. Remember, the rules are that you must contribute at least $1000 in each of four financial years, but they don’t have to be consecutive years. You can keep the account open while you’re outside Australia. You can continue to contribute to it if you like, but you don’t have to. However, in years that you’re not an Australian resident for tax purposes, the government won’t pay a co-contribution. And note that some banks, may not pay much interest in months when you don’t make a contribution.

Can I salary sacrifice into a FHSA?

No, all contributions must be from after-tax income.

What if I open a FHSA, but find the perfect home in two years and want to use money in the FHSA for a deposit?

This is a really important question. You won’t be able to withdraw your money from the FHSA because four financial years have not elapsed. If you buy the property using money from other sources and you live in that property, your FHSA will be closed and its balance will be transferred to your super fund.

If I own an investment property, am I still eligible for the first home owner grant?

Check the relevant information for your state or territory via First home owner grant site. In Victoria, for example, you’re ineligible for the grant if you had an interest in a residential property before July 2000 (even if you didn't live in it). But if you owned an investment property after July 2000, and lived in it for less than six continuous months, you’re still eligible for the grant.

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