Your super checklist for EOFY
By Robert Wright /June 03,2022/
The lead up to 30 June can be a good time to maximise tax benefits that may be available to you inside super.
Certain contributions, which we cover below, may have the ability to reduce your taxable income, or see you pay less on investment earnings.
Contributions that could create tax benefits:
- Tax-deductible super contributions
You may be able to claim a tax deduction on after-tax super contributions you’ve made, or make, before 30 June this year.
To claim a tax deduction on these contributions, you’ll need to tell your super fund by filling out a ‘notice of intent’ form. You’ll generally need to lodge this notice and have the lodgement acknowledged by your fund, before you file a tax return for the year you made the contributions.
Putting money into super and claiming it as a tax deduction may be of particular benefit if you receive some extra income that you’d otherwise pay tax on at your personal income tax rate (as this is often higher).
Similarly, if you’ve sold an asset that you have to pay capital gains tax on, you may decide to contribute some or all of that money into super, so you can claim it as a tax deduction. This could reduce or at least offset the capital gains tax that’s owing.
- Government co-contributions
If you’re a low to middle-income earner and have made (or decide to make before 1 July 2022) an after-tax contribution to your super account, which you don’t claim a tax deduction for, you might be eligible for a government co contribution of up to $500.
If your total income is equal to or less than $41,112 in the 2021/22 financial year and you make after-tax contributions of $1,000 to your super fund, you’ll receive the maximum co-contribution of $500.
If your total income is between $41,112 and $56,112 in the 2021/22 financial year, your maximum entitlement will reduce progressively as your income rises.
If your income is equal to or greater than the higher income threshold $56,112 in the 2021/22 financial year, you won’t receive any co-contribution.
Also, you’ll generally need to have at least 10% of your assessable income coming from employment/business sources to qualify.
- Spouse contributions
If you’re earning more than your partner and would like to top up their retirement savings, or vice versa, you may want to think about making spouse contributions.
If eligible, you can generally make a contribution to your spouse’s super and claim an 18% tax offset on up to $3,000 through your tax return.
To be eligible for the maximum tax offset, which works out to be $540, you need to contribute a minimum of $3,000 and your partner’s annual income needs to be $37,000 or less.
If their income exceeds $37,000, you’re still eligible for a partial offset. However, once their income reaches $40,000, you’ll no longer be eligible for the offset, but can still make contributions on their behalf.
- Salary sacrifice contributions
Salary sacrifice is where you choose to have some of your before-tax income paid into your super by your employer on top of what they might pay you under the superannuation guarantee.
Salary sacrifice contributions (like tax-deductible contributions) are a type of concessional contribution and these are usually taxed at 15% (or 30% if your total income exceeds $250,000), which for most, means you’ll generally pay less tax on your super contributions than you do on your income.
If you’re in a financial position to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement, you may want to do this before the start of the new financial year, so talk to your employer or payroll division to have the arrangement documented.
Important things to consider
Contributions need to be received by your super fund on time (ie, before 30 June) if you’re planning on claiming a tax deduction or obtaining other government concessions on certain contributions when you do your tax return.
There are limits on how much you can contribute. If you exceed super contribution caps, additional tax and penalties may apply. Read more about super contribution types, limits and benefits.
Currently, if you’re aged 67 to 75 and wanting to make voluntary contributions, a work test applies unless you meet an exemption. Changes to the work test are coming more on this below.
The government sets general rules around when you can access your super, which typically won’t be until you reach your preservation age and meet a condition of release, such as retirement.
Is my employer paying me the right super?
By Robert Wright /June 03,2022/
Billions of dollars in super contributions go unpaid every year. Here’s how you can find out if you’re getting paid what you’re owed and what you can do if you’re not.
A while back, a mate of mine posted on social media that she was owed over $10,000 in super from a former employer, who had since shut up shop (money she may never see when she does eventually retire).
Responses from friends revealed she wasn’t alone, with one person commenting that, like her, they still hadn’t received their unpaid super money, with employers who go out of business sometimes harder to chase up.
The good news, according to the ATO’s last count, is that around 95% of super contributions were being paid by employers, but on the flipside that did leave around $2.5 billion in unpaid super.
If you’re not sure if you’re getting paid what you’re owed, here’s what you need to know and what you can do if something doesn’t look right (keeping in mind, the sooner you act, the better).
Who’s most at risk?
In the past, the ATO has indicated that about 50% of super debts it deals with relate to insolvency (in other words, companies that don’t have the cash to meet their obligations).
On top of that, data from ASIC indicated non-payment of super was more likely to happen in certain industries – hospitality, construction and retail to name a few.
What should your employer be paying you?
Generally, if you’re earning over $450 (before tax) a month, no less than 10% of your before-tax salary should be going into your super under the Superannuation Guarantee.
It’s also important to note that from 1 July 2022, changes to super will see more people become eligible for contributions from their employer, as the minimum income threshold of $450 per month will be removed.
Meanwhile, if you’d like an estimate of how much super your employer should have paid into your super account, try the ATO’s estimate my super tool.
How can you check if you’re getting paid the right super?
Start by looking at your payslips and know that while super contributions may be listed on your payslip, this doesn’t always mean money has been deposited into your super account.
With that in mind, you’ll want to check your super statements, call your super fund, or log into your super account online to see exactly what you’ve been paid.
Another thing to be aware of is even if your wages are paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, super contributions only need to be paid into your fund four times a year (at a minimum) on dates determined by the ATO.
What should you do if something doesn’t look right?
- If it looks like you haven’t been paid what you should’ve, speak to the person who handles the payroll at your work, as there may be a simple explanation.
- If you’re not satisfied with what they tell you, you can lodge an unpaid super enquiry with the ATO. You’ll need to give your personal details, including your tax file number, the period relating to your enquiry and your employer’s details. You can also call the ATO on 13 10 20.
- It’s worth contacting your super fund too, as your employer may have a contractual arrangement with your super fund, which means your super fund may be able to follow up any unpaid super on your behalf.
New opportunities to grow your Super from 1 July 2022
By Robert Wright /May 25,2022/
Both older and younger Australians, as well as low-income earners, are set to benefit from some upcoming super opportunities.
From 1 July 2022, there will be some changes made to super to make it easier for people to grow their retirement savings. These changes will create opportunities for both older and younger Australians, as well as low-income earners, by removing some of the barriers that currently exist in the super system.
Here’s what’s changing:
- The $450 Super Guarantee (SG) threshold will be removed, meaning that employers will start paying super for low-income earners.
- The SG contribution rate will rise to 10.5% p.a. for all employees.
- People aged 65-74 will no longer have to meet the work test to make voluntary contributions to super.
- The ‘bring-forward’ rule age limit will increase to 75, so more people can make lump sum contributions to super.
- The minimum age for downsizer contributions will reduce from 65 to 60, giving more flexibility to people who are selling their home.
- First home buyers can now save up to $50,000, and any deemed earnings, to use as a home deposit through the First Home Buyer Saver Scheme.
Here are some more details about how each of these changes will work, and how you can take advantage of these opportunities to boost your retirement savings.
Employers will start paying super for low-income earners
SG contributions are the mandated contributions that your employer puts into your super on your behalf. For a lot of people, these are the only super contributions that go into their account.
Until now, employers haven’t had to make these contributions if an employee earns less than $450 in a calendar month. Because of this, if you work casually, or you work part-time across multiple jobs, you may not have received any contributions at all from your employment.
From 1 July 2022, the $450 threshold will be removed. Employers will have to make SG contributions regardless of how much the employee earns (unless they are under 18 and working less than 30 hours per week).
Of all the upcoming super changes, this one has the potential to make the most difference, because it means low-income earners will finally have super contributions going into their account without having to make voluntary contributions themselves. These regular contributions can go a long way towards building up retirement savings.
For example, someone who currently works three jobs, earning $400 per month for each job, will now have $1,512 contributed to their super in 2022-23, which will then accumulate further earnings. Over a 40-year period, this could add up to over $84,000 or even substantially more, depending on how their super is invested.
SG contribution rate will rise to 10.5% for all employees
The SG contribution rate is currently 10% p.a. of your wages or salary. This rate will increase to 10.5% from 1 July 2022, and it’s scheduled to increase progressively to 12% by July 2025.
Each of these incremental changes is great news for people who are paid SG contributions by their employers, because it means your super balance will grow faster without you having to make any extra contributions.
People aged 65-74 will no longer have to meet the work test to make voluntary contributions to super
People aged 65-74 currently have to satisfy the work test (or qualify for an exemption) to be able to make voluntary contributions to super. This means proving you worked for a minimum of 40 hours, during a period of 30 consecutive days, in the financial year for which you want to make a contribution.
From 1 July 2022, you won’t have to meet the work test for the super fund to accept any type of contributions you make to your super, or any contributions your employer makes to your super, while you are under age 75.
From age 75 the only type of contribution that can be accepted into your super account are downsizer contributions or compulsory employer superannuation contributions.
Personal deductible contributions:
From 1 July 2022, if you are aged 67 – 74 at the time you make a personal super contribution, you only have to meet the work test, or work test exemption, if you wish to claim a tax deduction for those contributions.
A work test is not required to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions made while you are under age 67.
This change gives older Australians more flexibility to be able to contribute to super and boost your retirement savings, regardless of your employment status, in the years leading up to your 75th birthday.
‘Bring-forward’ rule age limit will increase to 75
The ‘bring-forward’ rule allows you to use up to three years’ worth of your future non-concessional (after-tax) super contribution caps over a shorter period – either all at once or as several larger contributions – without having to pay extra tax.
The non-concessional contributions cap is currently $110,000 per year. So, if you use the bring-forward rule, you may be able to contribute up to $330,000 in a single year as long as you don’t exceed the total cap over the three-year period. This strategy is mostly used by people nearing retirement, who want to contribute as much as possible to super before they stop working, or people who receive an inheritance or other type of windfall.
Currently, you need to be under age 67 at any time in a financial year to use the bring-forward rule. From 1 July 2022, the age limit will increase to 75. This is great news for people who want to put as much money as possible into their super before they retire, without being penalised for it.
Eligibility for the bring-forward rule will depend on your total super balance at the most recent 30 June, and the amount of your personal contributions over the past two financial years.
Minimum age for downsizer contributions will reduce from 65 to 60
The downsizer contribution is a strategy aimed at helping older Australians put all or part of the proceeds of the sale of one qualifying home into super to boost your retirement savings. You can only make this type of contribution, and the maximum amount you can contribute is $300,000. However, by combining it with the bring-forward rule, you could potentially contribute $630,000 to super (or $1.26 million as a couple) in a single year.
Currently, you can only make a downsizer contribution if you’re 65 or older at the time of the contribution. From 1 July 2022, the minimum age reduces to age 60. This will provide more flexibility to people in their early sixties who are planning to sell their family home and want to move some or all of the proceeds into super.
Although the work test has never applied to downsizer contributions, other eligibility rules apply and it’s important to submit a downsizer contribution form to your fund at the time you make this type of contribution.
First home buyers can now save up to $50,000 using the First Home Super Saver Scheme
People saving up for their first home can use the First Home Super Scheme (FHSS) to grow their deposit amount. It takes advantage of the favourable tax treatment of super contributions and earnings to help you save a deposit faster than if you save outside of super.
You can currently use this strategy to release up to $30,000 in eligible voluntary super contributions, along with any deemed earnings, for the purchase of your first home.
From 1 July 2022, the maximum amount of eligible contributions that may be released will increase to $50,000. However, the annual limit of voluntary contributions eligible for the scheme remains at $15,000 per financial year. This means it would take at least four years of maximum contributions to have the maximum $50,000 available for release.
Given the substantial rise in property prices we’ve seen all around Australia over the past year, this change will help first home buyers save a larger deposit using this strategy – albeit over a longer time period.
Source: Colonial First State
11 things everyone should know about their super
By Robert Wright /October 25,2021/
Super is there to provide you with an income when you stop working and it may provide a tax-effective way to save for your retirement over the long-term.
What’s probably more interesting, is in time, your super may become one of your largest assets. We don’t often think about that, but it’s a good reason why you may want to pay closer attention to it.
Here are some things worth knowing or which may even interest you to investigate further.
1. Who pays your super
Generally, your super savings will build up over the course of your working life, as money you earn is put into super by yourself, or by your employer under the super guarantee, if you’re eligible.
You can make additional voluntary contributions to your super to boost your retirement savings if you choose to. However, there are limits on the amount you can contribute each year and there are separate caps, depending on the types of contributions you’re making.
2. Where your money’s invested
Any time money is deposited into your super, it’s invested on your behalf by the trustee of your super fund.
Investments can be made into property, shares, cash deposits and other assets depending on your default investment profile, or if you’ve made your own investment selections.
Most funds will allow you to choose from a range or mix of investment options and asset classes and choosing the most suitable option will typically come down to your attitude to risk and the time you have available to invest.
3. How to see what your employer’s paying you
Super guarantee (or SG) contributions made by your employer, if you’re eligible, should be at least 10% of your ordinary (not overtime) earnings if you’re making $450 or more each month. Note, others may also be eligible.
Meanwhile, as these contributions may be the foundation of your future savings, it’s important to check they’re being paid correctly. You can do this by reviewing your payslips, checking your super statements, calling your super fund or logging into your online account to see what’s been put in.
Keep in mind, employer super contributions also only have to be paid into your fund four times a year (at a minimum), on dates set by the ATO, which means your super may be paid at different times to your employment income.
4. Where to go if something doesn’t look right
If your employer hasn’t paid your super, speak to the person who handles the payroll at your work. If you’re not satisfied with what they tell you, you can lodge an unpaid super enquiry with the ATO.
5. How your current super balance stacks up
In many cases you can check out your super balance online via your super fund’s website or the statements they send you.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested to know how your balance fares and what you might need each year in retirement, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia puts out a report each quarter.
If you’re curious to know how your super balance shapes up against others your age, check out the average super balances for employed people of different age groups across Australia.
6. How to find your lost or unclaimed super
At last count, there was more than $13 billion in lost and unclaimed super waiting to be claimed across Australia.
That can happen when you set up a new super fund and forget to roll over what you accumulated in a previous one, or if you forget to update your details with your providers when you change them.
You can search for lost or unclaimed super by doing a super search with your current super fund or by logging into your MyGov account to find your super funds.
7. What to look out for if you roll two funds into one
If you have more than one super account, there may be advantages to rolling your accounts into one, such as paying one set of fees and less paperwork.
If you do decide to consolidate, make sure you don’t risk losing features and benefits including life and other insurance that may be attached to the account you’re considering closing
8. How to check your insurance if you have it
Most super funds let you pay for personal insurance out of the money in your super fund, but there are pros and cons worth weighing up.
For instance, insurance through super can often be cheaper than personal insurance bought outside super, but you may not get the same level of cover.
9. How to make sure the right people get your money if you pass away
If you don’t nominate a beneficiary with your super fund, your super fund may decide who receives your super money when you pass away, regardless of what you have in your will.
There are generally two types of beneficiary nominations you can make, binding and non-binding.
If you make a binding nomination, your super fund is required to pay your benefit to the person or people you’ve nominated, as long as the nomination is valid when you pass away. Keep in mind, some binding nominations are lapsing and may only remain valid for three years.
If you make a non-binding nomination, your super fund will have the final say as to who receives your super benefits, but they will attempt to find all potential beneficiaries and decide who’s the most appropriate.
10. What age you can withdraw your super
The government sets general rules around when you can access your super, which typically won’t be until you reach your preservation age (which will be between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born) and meet a condition of release, such as retirement.
At this time, you may choose to take the money as a lump sum, income stream, or even a bit of both.
Meanwhile, there may be some special circumstances where you may be able to withdraw your super early.
11. When can you no longer contribute to super
Once you turn 75, generally you can no longer make voluntary contributions to your super, with some exceptions, which may include if you’re selling your home and making a downsizer contribution. Compulsory SG contributions made by your employer, if you’re still working, can still be paid.
Many people think of their super as an investment that takes care of itself, but the choices you make about your super today, could make a big difference to your quality of life later on.