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Superannuation: Super catch-up catching on

Superannuation: Super catch-up catching on

By Andrew Proebstl

Practice Management 



  • Eligible superannuation fund members can now boost their super account balance through catch-up concessional contributions.
  • To take advantage of this opportunity, you must have a super balance of less than $500,000 before the beginning of a financial year. 
  • Super fund members eligible to take advantage of catch-up concessional contributions should ensure that the contributions they make do not exceed the prescribed caps.

It is now easier for eligible super fund members to make additional tax concessional contributions into their super.

A change to the way people can boost their super with catch-up concessional contributions is good news for eligible super fund members.

People typically contribute to their superannuation account in three ways:

Super guarantee (SG) contributions: Money their employer deducts from their salary and pays into their super fund. Total payments over a financial year must, by law, total 9.5 per cent of the person’s salary. There are some exemptions to paying SG.

Concessional contributions: If your SG contributions total less than $25,000 in a financial year, you can choose to make additional voluntary super contributions from your salary up to the $25,000 limit. These additional salary sacrifice or personal tax deductible contributions (also known as concessional contributions) are taxed at a concessional rate of 15 per cent (in some cases up to 30 per cent) compared with your marginal tax rate, which in most cases will be higher.

Non-concessional contributions: As well as making voluntary concessional contributions up to the $25,000 cap, eligible super fund members can make non-concessional (after-tax) contributions. These carry attractive tax advantages. The current after-tax non-concessional contribution cap is $100,000 per financial year. However, people under 65 on 1 July in a financial year may be able to contribute up to $300,000 in a single financial year pursuant to the bring-forward rule. This can be a valuable way to boost your retirement savings. 

Catch-up concessional contributions

As part of the 2016 budget the federal government introduced a change to concessional contributions called catch-up concessional contributions.

The change, which came into effect on 1 July 2018, allows individuals with a superannuation balance of less than $500,000 just before the beginning of a financial year to make catch-up superannuation contributions if they did not reach their $25,000 concessional contributions caps in the previous financial year. 

For example, if in 2018-19 you made concessional contributions of $10,000 (rather than the cap of $25,000), then in the following (current) financial year of 2019-20 you can catch up by making concessional contributions up to $40,000 (consisting of the usual cap of $25,000 plus the $15,000 you chose not to contribute previously).

Individuals can access their unused concessional contributions cap on a rolling basis for five years. Amounts that have not been used after five years will expire. 

While the change officially started as of 1 July 2018, it is actually from 1 July 2019 that people can start to take advantage of catch-up concessional contributions.

Super fund members eligible to make catch-up concessional contributions, along with all super fund members considering making other concessional or non-concessional contributions, should ensure contributions do not exceed the prescribed caps. The respective caps apply as an aggregate across all super funds a person may have. Contributions in excess of these limits may be taxed at a higher rate. 

Your super fund will be able to provide information and guidance regarding the amounts you have contributed and how this compares to the relevant caps.

Andrew Proebstl is chief executive of legalsuper, Australia’s industry super fund for the legal community. This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should therefore consider the appropriateness of the information and read the relevant legalsuper product disclosure statement before making any decision.

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