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Get your super ready for tax time

by Verve

The first half of 2024 has seen the cost of living crisis really hit a lot of us hard. And for women+ we’ve still got the gender pay gap to deal with on top of that. Yep, Australia’s total average gender pay gap is still 21.7%. For every $1 on average a man makes, women earn 78 cents.  

So while we’re fighting to see that pay gap disappear to nothing, let’s make sure we’re taking care of our money – including the money in our super accounts. As the end of financial year 2024 approaches, here are some tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your super ahead of tax time.  

Check if you’re eligible for a super co-contribution 

The government’s co-contribution scheme helps give the super balances of low and middle income earners a little boost.  

If you earnt less than $58,445 this financial year and made personal non-concessional (after-tax) contributions to your super fund, the government may also make a co-contribution up to a maximum of $500. 

There are some additional criteria to qualify for the scheme, you can read all about it here

Check if you’re eligible for the low income super tax offset  

If you earnt up to $37,000 this year, you may be eligible to receive a low income super tax offset (LISTO) payment of up to $500. 

You don’t need to do anything to receive a LISTO payment. Just make sure your super fund has your tax file number. 

The LISTO is 15% of the concessional super contributions you or your employer pays into your super fund, that includes the superannuation guarantee, up to a maximum of $500.  

It’s designed to ensure those on lower incomes don’t pay more tax on their super contributions than on their take-home pay.  

Take advantage of the First Home Super Saver scheme 

This government scheme allows you to save money for your first home in your super fund. 

Those eligible for the First Home Super Saver scheme can make voluntary contributions, both before-tax concessional and after-tax non-concessional, into their super fund to save for their first home. 

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can have these voluntary contributions released from your super fund. Your savings are released up to a limit, along with associated earnings, to help you purchase your first home. 

In total, $50,000 worth of voluntary contributions can be released by your super fund to help you buy a home if you are eligible for the First Home Super Saver scheme.  

You can apply to have a maximum of $15,000 of your voluntary contributions from any one financial year included in your eligible contributions. 

Make any extra concessional contributions  

Before the end of financial year rolls around, it’s a great time to think about whether you want to take advantage of the concessional contribution cap.  

The concessional contribution cap this financial year is $27,500.  

You can check where you’re up to with concessional contributions by using ATO online services. Simply login, select Super, then Information, then Concessional contributions

Concessional contributions are taxed in your super fund at 15% and avoid income tax.  

They work out as a tax effective way to save because if you earn over $45,000 a year your income tax rate is more than 32%.  

If you plan to make concessional contributions this year, don’t get caught out by missing your payroll cut-off or by contributing too close to the end of the financial year.  

*Those with incomes above $250,000 this financial year are not able to make concessional contributions above your superannuation guarantee amount.  

You can make a personal contribution by logging into your online portal. Select the menu item on the top left and choose ‘Make a personal contribution’. Complete the online form and then follow the payment instructions to complete the bank transfer.

Claim a tax deduction 

You can claim a tax deduction for your personal super contributions if they fall under the concessional contribution cap.  

All you have to do is give your super fund a notice in the approved form and get an acknowledgement from the fund. There are some other eligibility criteria you must meet to claim a tax deduction on super contributions, all the information can be found on the ATO website

Carry forward the concessional contribution cap 

You can also carry forward any unused portion of a concessional contribution limit from one year, and add it to your contribution cap any time up to five years later, depending on your super balance. 

You’re eligible to carry forward the concessional contributions cap from previous years if your super balance was below $500,000 at 30 June 2023 and you have unused concessional caps from up to five previous years.  

Make an after-tax contribution 

Contributions to your super made from your after-tax income are called non-concessional contributions. The cap for these contributions is $110,000.  

You can keep track of your non-concessional contributions through the ATO online. Simply login, select Super then Information then Non-concessional contributions

If you go over the concessional contributions cap, your excess concessional contributions will count towards your non-concessional contributions cap unless you have the funds released.  

Under the non-concessional contribution cap rules, you can also bring forward the cap from the next two years if you are under 75 and your super balance is less than $1.68 million.  

Make a downsizer contribution 

If you are 55 or older, you may be able to contribute up to $300,000 from the proceeds of the sale (or part sale) of your home into your super fund. 

Downsizer contributions work like non-concessional contributions in terms of tax, but they don’t count towards the non-concessional contribution cap.  

Criteria to be eligible to make a downsizer contribution include that you or your spouse must have owned your home for at least 10 years prior to the sale and it must have been a main residence. 

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