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Superannuation

Are you super ready for year end?

The financial year is already racing by, but before we get to the end of another financial year, consider how well you have looked after your super savings this year.

Australians have saved over $3.5 trillion* in super. That’s a lot of zeros. So how much belongs to you, and are you saving enough to pay for a comfortable retirement?

Source: APRA Quarterly superannuation performance statistics, December 2021 (released 1 March 2022).

It is not too late to take advantage of some opportunities for tax concessions in this financial year. So what could you do?

If you have income less than $56,112 …Make a personal contribution of up to $1,000 into your super account and receive up to a 50% bonus (eligibility rules apply).Refer to Co-contributions
If you are an employee …Speak to payroll about putting some of your pre-tax salary into super to reduce your tax bill.Refer to Extra employer contributions
If your spouse has an income of less than $40,000 …Make a contribution to his/her account to reduce your tax bill and build his/her savings.Refer to Spouse contributions

Warning

You need to remember that money held in super generally cannot be taken out until you permanently retire (on or after reaching preservation age) or reach age 65.

So before adding money to your account, make sure you won’t need to use the money earlier.

Co-contributions

How good is this! If you put $1,000 into your super fund, the government may also add up to $500 as a co-contribution. This is a simple way to increase your savings. But you need to contribute before the end of the financial year.

Of course, there are eligibility rules. If you can tick all the boxes below, you will be eligible to receive a co-contribution from the government for 2021/22.

Will you ….Tick
Have income* less than $56,112
Be under age 71 on June 30, 2022
Make a personal contribution^ to your super (but less than your non-concessional contributions cap)
Be a permanent resident for the full financial year
Lodge an income tax return
Earn at least 10% of your income** from working (i.e. employee, self-employed or a combination of the both)
Have a total super balance on June 30, 2021, of less than $1.7 million.

* Income is generally defined as the sum of assessable income plus fringe benefits paid by your employer and recorded on your PAYG summary (known as reportable fringe benefits) plus extra amounts that your employer pays to super above the 10% super guarantee (known as reportable superannuation contributions), less allowable business deductions.

^ Amounts that you salary sacrifice through your employer do not count. You need to make personal after-tax contributions. Furthermore, you cannot exceed your non-concessional contributions cap for the year and still receive the co-contribution.

** Total income for this purpose is assessable income, reportable fringe benefits and reportable superannuation contributions.

If you ticked all the boxes and are eligible, the government will put in 50 cents for every dollar you put into your super account up to a maximum co-contribution of $500. But some limits apply. To get the full $500, your income needs to be $41,112 or less. The maximum co-contribution is reduced by 0.03333 cents for every dollar that your income is over $41,113, and nothing is payable once your income reaches $56,112.

Example

Mary is age 39 and earns $30,000 a year. She takes $1,000 out of her bank account and puts it into her super account. The government will also put a $500 co-contribution into her account.

Phil is age 43 and earns $43,000 a year. He can only receive a co-contribution up to $437.08*. If he puts at least $874.16 into his super account as a personal contribution, the government will add the $437.08. The co-contribution is reduced for lower levels of contributions.

* Calculated as: $500 – [($43,000 – $41,112) x 0.033333] = $437.08

Tip

This rate is less generous than it once was but at a 50 cent matching rate up to a maximum co-contribution of $500 it is still worth getting.

Extra employer contributions

Generally, your employer will add 10% of your salary into your super account for 2021/22. However, many employers will agree to add more if you ask them to reduce the cash salary you receive and pay the extra as an additional employer contribution to your super account – this is called salary sacrifice.

This has the benefit of reducing the tax you pay so that you can add more money to your savings and help your super grow faster.

Example

Ralph earns a salary of $60,000 per year. His employer also pays SG of $6,000 into his super account.

Ralph wants to reduce taxes and build up his savings. So he arranges to reduce his cash salary by $5,000, and his employer will pay this amount to super.

2021/22 tax rates usedCurrent packageRevised package
Cash salary$60,000$55,000
Tax payable (including 2% Medicare Levy, low income offset, and low and middle income tax offset)$9,567$7,767
Net cash salary$50,433$47,233

 

Employer super (10%)$6,000$6,000
Plus: additional employer super (salary sacrifice)Nil$5,000
Less: tax on super (15%)$900$1,650
Net super contribution$5,100$9,350

 

Total after-tax value to Ralph (cash plus net super)$55,533$56,583

By reducing his salary and asking his employer to make the extra contributions to super, Ralph receives an extra $1,050 a year in value.

Check that your employer does not contribute more than $27,500 to your super this financial year (including the amounts you salary sacrifice), or you will create an excess (unless you can apply unused concessional contributions cap from a previous financial year). Sometimes other amounts count towards these limits, so always get tax or financial planning advice.

Spouse contributions

If your spouse does not work full-time and has not had the opportunity to accumulate much in super, you have an opportunity to boost his/her super by making contributions, and you could save some tax as well.

If your spouse’s income is less than $37,000, you can claim an 18% tax offset on the first $3,000 of contributions that you make to his/her account. A smaller offset is available if your spouse’s income is over $37,000, and no offset is allowed once his/her income reaches $40,000.

Example

Hilda earns $25,000 a year from some part-time work. Her husband Jorgan puts $3,000 into her super account.

Jorgan can claim a tax offset of $3,000 x 18% = $540. This reduces his tax by $540.

Six other tax planning tips before 30 June

  1. If you are on higher income levels, private health insurance may be needed to avoid paying the Medicare levy surcharge. You may not be able to avoid liability for this full year, but taking out appropriate cover before 1 July may ensure you don’t pay it next year.
  2. Prepay deductible expenses to increase your tax deductions and reduce tax payable this year.
  3. If you sold an asset that realised a capital gain, look at your other assets to see if you want to sell any (if appropriate) that will create a loss that may offset the gain.
  4. You should consider if you could benefit from making a personal contribution to super and claim a tax deduction to offset taxable income or capital gains.
  5. If you are an employee, you can choose to claim tax deductions for eligible personal contributions instead of salary sacrifice. Advice should be sought to evaluate which option works best for you.
  6. If you have an account-based pension (including a transition to retirement pension), make sure you have taken the minimum income payment before June 30 otherwise you will pay tax on earnings in the fund for the whole year.
  7. Review after-tax contributions (non-concessional contributions).
  8. If you wish to split contributions made in 2020/21 with your spouse, make sure the splitting application is made to the fund by June 30, 2022.

 

 

The information contained in this article is general information only. It is not intended to be a recommendation, offer, advice or invitation to purchase, sell or otherwise deal in securities or other investments. Before making any decision in respect to a financial product, you should seek advice from an appropriately qualified professional.
We believe that the information contained in this document is accurate. However, we are not specifically licensed to provide tax or legal advice and any information that may relate to you should be confirmed with your tax or legal adviser.