Can I add money to my superannuation?
You may have a sum saved from your income, or received from the sale of an asset, or an inheritance, and you could be wondering, ‘Can I add money to my superannuation?’.
The more money you have in your super account when you retire, the more comfortable you’ll be when you are no longer working and earning. You may want to increase the savings in your super account to take care of your future needs as well as save on tax. So what can you do to increase your super?
There are a few ways to add money to your superannuation account. One of these is to have a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer. The other is to make personal super contributions. While salary sacrifice contributions go from your pre-tax income, your personal super contributions go from your after-tax income or take-home pay. Let’s see how both these options work.
Salary sacrificing into super
Salary sacrificing is probably the best-known way to make an additional contribution to your super. You define a certain amount that is deducted from your pre-tax salary by your employer and sent along with your employer’s contributions to your super account.
This is a way to save for your retirement as well as reduce your income tax burden. Super contributions through a salary sacrifice agreement are taxed in the fund at a maximum rate of 15 per cent, which is likely to be lower than your marginal tax rate.
The sacrificed component of your salary is not counted as assessable income for tax purposes, so it isn’t subject to pay as you go (PAYG) withholding tax. Contributions up to $27,500 a year get the benefit of this concessional tax rate. Employer contributions – including those made under a salary sacrifice arrangement – and personal contributions together need to be within the concessional contribution cap. Anything above this cap is taxed at the marginal rate.
You may be able to contribute over the general concessional cap of $27,500 without incurring extra tax, thanks to carry-forward rules. These rules enable you to take advantage of unused concessional cap amounts from previous years.
Personal super contributions
You may want to make additional voluntary contributions to your super account, separately from any salary sacrifice arrangement. These contributions are in addition to any compulsory super contributions your employer deposits.
As personal super contributions are from your after-tax income, they are not taxed in your super fund. You don't get the benefit of concessional tax rates on these voluntary contributions. That's why they are often called non-concessional contributions.
The cap on non-concessional super contributions used to be $100,000 but has now increased to $110,000. If you exceed that cap, you may have to pay excess tax. However, your cap could be higher than this amount if you take advantage of the bring-forward rule. This rule enables you to bring forward your non-concessional contributions caps from future years. You can take advantage of this facility only if you are below 67.
So if you sell an asset and have funds to invest, you could put $330,000 into your super, but then you cannot make voluntary super contributions for the next two years, as you have brought forward the caps from those years.
If your total super balance is $1.7 million or more, you cannot make personal super contributions. You need to look for alternate avenues to invest your funds.
Contribution caps reset on the 30th of June each year, so you should plan and complete your voluntary contributions well before that date.
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Product database updated 04 Mar, 2024