US Citizens in
New Zealand

Cambridge Partners is New Zealand’s leading independent wealth management firm, providing comprehensive financial advice and investment management services to US citizens living in New Zealand.

We work with our clients to structure and manage their investments in a tax efficient and compliant manner to manage both the NZ and US tax complexities they face, and ensure the other key financial aspects of their lives are by working in conjunction with accountants and lawyers.

How we can help

We are specialists in managing the cross-jurisdictional complexities associated with investing that US citizens must adapt to when living in NZ. 

These include:

  • Globally diversified and best practice investment strategies that avoid the punitive US PFICS tax regime which applies to almost all NZ conventional investment strategies
  • Currency management when moving assets to and from NZ
  • US capital gains tax minimisation through loss harvesting and trading minimisation of investment portfolios
  • Optimal US retirement account (IRA/401k etc) distribution strategies that balances drawdown rates and the lifetime tax on distributions. The right solution for a US citizen living in NZ is typically very different to a US citizen living in the US.
  • Optimal drawdown strategies for US pension schemes and US Social Security whilst also ensuring entitlements to NZ Super are fully exploited
  • Cross border asset protection and estate planning in conjunction with legal advisers

Cambridge Partners does not provide NZ or US tax advice or file NZ or US tax returns. Where required we work in partnership with our network of US-NZ accountants and US-NZ legal advisers to ensure the holistic requirements of our clients are met.

What are the issues our US clients face?

The US is almost unique in that its citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) remain US taxpayers irrespective of whether they reside in the US or not. So even if you are living in NZ, you remain a US taxpayer if you retain your US citizenship/residency status.

Prior to the rollout of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), US taxpayers faced very little risk of Inland Revenue Service (IRS) sanctions if they failed to fully comply with their US tax obligations.

Now, with the global rollout of FATCA, there is nowhere to hide, and US taxpayers must assume the IRS has complete visibility of their global assets and income. The penalties for non-compliance are substantial.

The US tax code is also the most complex in the world and this complexity is amplified when both the US and NZ tax codes must be adhered to at the same time. One basic issue is the December US tax year and the March NZ tax year, which requires financial records to be maintained and reported for both fiscal periods.

Another is the US-NZ Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) and its interaction with the tax codes of both countries which often leads to quite unexpected outcomes.

In this cross-jurisdictional world, the conventional US or NZ approaches and advice in relation to all aspects of a US citizen’s financial life do not translate well, often prove futile or have unintended consequences.

These complexities become a permanent feature that must be understood and factored into a wide range of financial and investment decisions that arise over the course of a family’s life.

James has specialist expertise in dealing with international migrants and those wanting to invest in New Zealand. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and an Authorised Financial Adviser.
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James Howard

Executive Director, Head of Growth & Advisory, Financial Adviser
CA, BCom
Jim has a broad range of experience in advising private clients and consulting for large institutional pension funds. He is a qualified Actuary, Chartered Financial Analyst, as well as being a Chartered Financial Planner and a Fellow of the UK’s Personal Finance Society.
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James Smith

Head of Professional Excellence, Financial Adviser
Johnny spent several years working in the fast-paced field of execution trading in London before returning home to take up his role at Cambridge Partners.
Find Out More

Johnny Sharland

Financial Adviser
BCom (Hons)
investment advisory

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