How do you calculate superannuation from a total package?
Superannuation is calculated at the rate of 9.5 per cent of your ‘ordinary-time earnings’. (For most people, ordinary-time earnings are their gross annual salary or wages.) So if you had a salary of $50,000, your superannuation would be 9.5 per cent of that, or $4,750. This would be paid on top of your salary.
As the Australian Taxation Office explains, some items are excluded from ordinary-time earnings. They include:
- Overtime work paid at overtime rates
- Expense allowances that are fully expended
- Expenses that are reimbursed
- Unfair dismissal payments
- Workers’ compensation payments
- Parental leave
- Jury duty
- Defence reserve service
- Unused annual leave when employment is terminated
- Unused long service leave when employment is terminated
- Unused sick leave when employment is terminated
Although the superannuation guarantee is currently at 9.5 per cent, it is scheduled to rise to 10.0 per cent in 2021-22, 10.5 per cent in 2022-23, 11.0 per cent in 2023-24, 11.5 per cent in 2024-25 and 12.0 per cent in 2025-26.
All SMSFs are required to have an investment strategy, which should explain what assets the fund will buy and what objectives it will pursue. This strategy must be reviewed regularly.
Issues to consider include how much risk the SMSF will take, how easily its assets can be converted into cash and how it will pay out benefits.
SMSFs are allowed to carry on a business under two conditions.
First, this must be permitted under the trust deed.
Second, the sole purpose of the business must be to earn retirement benefits.
An SMSF is a self-managed superannuation fund. SMSFs have to follow the same rules and restrictions as ordinary superannuation funds.
SMSFs allow Australians to directly invest their superannuation, rather than let ordinary funds manage their money for them.
SMSFs are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). They can have up to four members. All members must be trustees (or directors if there is a corporate trustee).
Unlike with ordinary funds, SMSF members are responsible for meeting compliance obligations.
- SMSFs have high set-up and running costs
- They come with complicated compliance obligations
- It takes a lot of time to research investment options
- It can be difficult to make such big financial decisions
Setting up an SMSF takes more work than registering with an ordinary superannuation fund.
An SMSF is a type of trust, so if you want to create an SMSF, you first have to create a trust.
To create a trust, you will need trustees, who must sign a trustee declaration. You will also need identifiable beneficiaries and assets for the fund – although these can be as little as a few dollars.
You will also need to create a trust deed, which is a document that lays out the rules of your SMSF. The trust deed must be prepared by a qualified professional and signed by all trustees.
To qualify as an Australian superannuation fund, the SMSF must meet these three criteria:
- The fund must be established in Australia – or at least one of its assets must be located in Australia
- The central management and control of the fund must ordinarily be in Australia
- The fund must have active members who are Australian residents and who hold at least 50 per cent of the fund’s assets – or it must have no active members
Once your SMSF is established and all trustees have signed a trustee declaration, you have 60 days to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN).
When completing the ABN application, you should ask for a tax file number for your fund. You should also ask for the fund to be regulated by the Australian Taxation Office – otherwise it won’t receive tax concessions.
Your next step is to open a bank account in your fund’s name. This account must be kept separated from the accounts held by the trustees and any related employers.
Your SMSF will also need an electronic service address, so it can receive contributions.
Finally, you will need to create an investment strategy, which explains how your fund will invest its money, and an exit strategy, which explains how and why it would ever close.
Please note that you can pay an adviser to set up your SMSF. You might also want to take the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund Trustee Education Program, which is a free program that has been created by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.
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