If you earn most of your income from employment, you may want to make personal deductible contributions – instead of, or in addition to, salary sacrifice.
Since 1 July 2017, employees have been able to claim personal super contributions as a tax deduction.
Like salary sacrifice, personal deductible contributions are generally taxed in the super fund at up to 15%1, instead of your marginal tax rate of up to 47%2, so both options can enable you to boost your super balance and reduce your overall tax.
Also both count, along with any superannuation guarantee (SG) contributions you receive from your employer to the concessional contribution cap. This cap is $25,0003 in 2018/19 and penalties may apply if you exceed it.
Some key differences are that, with personal deductible contributions:
- You don’t have to enter into an agreement with your employer.
- You can contribute using available capital from a range of sources, such as your after-tax pay, your savings, a windfall or the sale of assets.
- You can contribute any time in the financial year, either in regular installments, as a lump sum or both, and
- You can easily increase or decrease the amount you contribute in line with your income and expenses.
Claiming the deduction
To claim a personal super contribution as a tax deduction, there are some very important steps you’ll need to follow. First, you’ll need to submit a valid ‘Notice of Intent’ form with your super fund and receive an acknowledgement back from the fund. You also need to make sure this happens before you complete your tax return, start a pension, or withdraw or rollover the money. Otherwise you may not be eligible to claim a deduction for the full amount you want. Other conditions may also apply. For more information, please visit the ATO website.
Personal deductible contributions could be worth considering if:
- Your employer doesn’t offer salary sacrifice.
- Salary sacrifice is available but it reduces other benefits such as SG contributions, holiday pay or leave loading, or
- You want to make a concessional contribution using a bonus or another benefit or entitlement already accrued and you haven’t got the right salary sacrifice arrangement in place4.
Also, personal deductible contributions might be right for you if you want more control over how much you contribute and when the contributions are made.
Salary sacrifice might, on the other hand, be a better option if you’re not the most disciplined saver. With salary sacrifice, the contributions go straight into super from your pre-tax pay before you get a chance to spend the money.
You could even consider using both these options, so you can combine the discipline of salary sacrifice with the flexibility of personal deductible contributions.
For example, you may want to arrange to sacrifice some of your pre-tax salary each pay period and make a personal deductible contribution at the end of the financial year when your cash flow and tax position is clearer.
You could also time the personal deductible contribution in the lead up to 30 June to make the most of the $25,000 concessional contribution cap.
Could you benefit from making personal deductible contributions?
If you’re thinking about investing more in super, we can help you decide whether making personal deductible contributions is right for you. We can also look at what else you could be doing to help you achieve the retirement lifestyle you want.
1. Individuals with an income from certain sources above $250,000 p.a. in 2018/19 will pay an additional 15% tax on concessional super contributions within the cap.
2. Includes Medicare levy.
3. Since 1 July 2018, it may be possible to accrue unused concessional contribution cap amounts for up to five years. Accrued unused cap amounts may then be used from 1 July 2019. Conditions apply. See www.ato.gov.au for more information.
4. This is because an effective salary sacrifice arrangement can only be in respect of benefits or entitlements that you’re yet to accrue.
This document has been reproduced with permission of MLC Investments Limited (ABN 30 002 641 661, AFSL 230705) (MLC), a member of the National Australia Bank Limited (ABN 12 004 044 937, AFSL 230 686) group of companies (NAB Group), 105–153 Miller Street, North Sydney 2060. Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on the information contained in this document as the basis for making any financial investment, insurance or other decision. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. Information in this publication is accurate as at the date of writing (October 2017). In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, the accuracy of that information is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither the Licensee nor any member of the NAB Group, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, not accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Any general tax information provided in this publication is intended as a guide only and is based on our general understanding of taxation laws. It is not intended to be a substitute for specialised taxation advice or an assessment of your liabilities, obligations or claim entitlements that arise, or could arise, under taxation law, and we recommend you consult with a registered tax agent.