In this section we will talk you through different ways to grow your super such as making extra contributions, finding lost super, salary sacrificing and more. Simple changes can make a big difference in the long term.
If you’ve changed your name, address or job, you may have lost track of some of your super. It may also be held by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) waiting to be claimed.
Finding your lost super
If you are a WA Super member, it’s easy to find any lost or unclaimed super you may have by accessing their Member Online area and performing a search.
You can find out more here.
If you have multiple super accounts you may want to combine or roll over your super into one account. WA Super provides this service to all members who want to consolidate all their funds into WA Super, and it’s easily done through their Member Online area
Combining your super may help you:
- Save on fees – fewer accounts can mean fewer fees
- Have more control over your investment strategy – one account, one strategy
- Keep track of all your super – everything is in one place
- Avoid paying unnecessary insurance costs – premiums may be deducted in multiple accounts.
Don’t forget, you should check with your other fund/s about any entitlements that may cease to exist, any exit or withdrawal fees that might be applicable and what the impact may be on any death or disability insurance you have if you do decided to leave their fund.
WA Super members don’t have to change super funds if they change their jobs. Whether you are moving to a new employer or starting your own business, you can continue to use WA Super as your preferred fund.
Staying with WA Super is done in three easy steps:
There are various ways you can contribute to your super. The three most common types of contributions are:
- before-tax contributions (concessional contributions),
- after-tax contributions (non-concessional contributions) and
- super co-contributions.
Concessional contributions are sometimes called ‘before-tax contributions’. These are made into your super from your salary before you have paid tax.
- Compulsory super guarantee (SG) made by your employer
- Salary sacrifice contributions (if you choose)
- Employer matching contributions (if applicable)
- Any personal contributions for which you notify the Trustee of your intention to claim as an income tax deduction
Non-concessional contributions are sometimes called ‘after-tax contributions’. These are generally voluntary and can include contributions made by:
- members from after-tax income
- a spouse
If you are a low or middle income earner and make personal (after tax) contributions into your super fund, you could be eligible to receive a ‘bonus’ contribution up to $500 from the Australian Government.
The amount you may receive depends on your income, your account balance in all your super funds and how much you contribute across all of your super accounts. You cannot contribute in excess of your non-concessional contribution cap if you wish to receive the co-contribution.
Find out more
Salary sacrifice is an arrangement between you and your employer, where you can contribute part of your before-tax salary into your super to potentially gain tax benefits.
How it works
Salary sacrificing lets you put some of your pre-tax salary into your superannuation which is taxed at a maximum concessional tax rate of 15%, rather than your marginal tax rate which may be higher.
Your assessable income is reduced by the amount of the contribution and as a consequence you may also drop to a lower marginal tax rate. Please refer to the ATO website for details of current year marginal tax rates.
The Australian Government has set limits on the amount of contributions that can be made each year without having to pay additional tax. The before-tax (concessional) contributions cap for 2018/2019 for all ages is $25,000.
Contributions that you intend to claim a tax deduction for
From 1 July 2018, you can ‘carry-forward’ your concessional super contributions if your total super balance is less than $500,000. You will be able to access your unused concessional contribution cap space on a rolling basis for five years. Amounts carried forward that have not been used after five years will expire.
Find out more
You can also use the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) MoneySmart superannuation calculator to see the difference salary sacrificing can make to your retirement savings.
If you are employed and your eligible spouse (married or de-facto) is either not working or earning less than $40,000 per year, you can contribute to their super and get up to a $540 tax rebate a year.
To be eligible, the following conditions must be met:
- The sum of your spouse’s assessable income, total reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions is less than $40,000.
- Contributions are made into a complying super fund.
- Both you and your spouse were Australian residents when the contributions are made.
- When making the contributions you and your spouse were not living separately and apart on a permanent basis.
- Your spouse had not exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap ($1.6m for 2018/19) or had a total superannuation balance equal to or exceeding the transfer balance cap immediately before the start of the financial year in which the contribution was made.
- The contributions must not be tax deductible to the contributor.
Contribution splitting is another way you can boost your spouse’s account balance. But, there are restrictions on the amount and types of contributions you can make.
You can split concessional contributions up to 85% of the contribution, or up to the annual concessional contribution cap, whichever is lesser. The concessional cap for 2018/19 for all ages is $25,000 per annum.
Contributions that can be split are usually employer before-tax contributions, including salary sacrificed amounts.
You can apply to split your contributions when you are any age, but your spouse must be either:
- less than the preservation age that applies to them, or
- aged between their preservation age and 65 years, and not retired.
Find out more
If you are a low or middle income earner and make personal (after-tax) contributions into your super fund, you could be eligible to receive a ‘bonus’ contribution up to $500 from the Australian Government.
The amount you may receive depends on your income, your account balance in all your super funds (only applicable from 1 July 2017) and how much you contribute across all your super accounts. You cannot contribute in excess of your non-concessional contributions cap if you wish to receive the co-contribution.
To be eligible to receive the Government Co-contribution you must meet ALL the following criteria. You:
- Make eligible personal super contributions to your super account during the financial year.
- Have a total income of less than the higher income threshold (see the table below for the thresholds). In this instance, your total income is reduced by your allowable business deductions.
- Have 10% or more of your total income coming from employment-related activities, carrying on a business, or a combination of both In this instance, your total income is NOT reduced by your allowable business deductions.
- Were less than 71 years old at the end of the financial year.
- Lodge your tax return for the relevant financial year.
- Did not hold a temporary visa at any time during the financial year (unless you are a New Zealand citizen or it was a prescribed visa).
- Have a total superannuation balance less than the General Balance Transfer Cap at 30 June the previous financial year ($1.6 million for 2018/2019) financial year;
- Have not contributed more than your non-concessional contributions cap for the financial year. For 2018/19 the contribution cap is $100,000 for individuals aged 65 years or over provided you have met the work test; or $300,000 over 3 years for anyone aged under 65.
More detail on eligibility is available from the ATO website.
How much can you receive?
You can use ASIC’s MoneySmart Super Co-contribution calculator to find out:
- if you are eligible for a co-contribution from the Government
- how much you can get if you are eligible
How to apply
You don’t need to apply for the co-contribution. All you need to do is:
- Make personal super contributions (after tax) to a super fund, such as WA Super;
- Don’t claim a tax deduction for the that you wish to claim a tax deduction for; and
- Lodge an income tax return in the relevant year
Once WA Super has reported your personal contributions to the ATO, and you have lodged your income tax return, the ATO will then calculate if you are eligible. If you are, the ATO will automatically calculate the co-contribution amount and deposit it into your super account.
The ATO makes most payments between November and January each year as most contributions are reported by super funds by then and most personal tax returns have been lodged.
If you don’t supply your TFN to WA Super they cannot accept your personal contributions (unless you provide your TFN to use within 30 days of the Trustee receiving the monies). Therefore, you will miss out on a government co-contribution if WA Super returns your contribution to you.
Find out more
If you have come into some money, perhaps sold an investment property or received a bonus from your work, you might like to consider topping up your retirement savings with a lump sum deposit. Remember, you can access it as tax-free income once you are over age 60.
Use ASIC’s superannuation calculator to see the difference a lump sum (post-tax) contribution to your super can make to your retirement savings.
Lump sum post tax contributions are called non-concessional contributions and limits apply. For 2018/19 the limit is $100,000 per person pa (provided you have met the work test – see below) or $300,000 per person averaged over three years for anyone less than 65 years.
The work test requires individuals to work 40 hours or more during a consecutive 30 day period in the financial year.
It is important to remember that you generally cannot access any money you contribute to super until you reach your preservation age and retire.
Find out more
Watch WA Super’s educational module ‘Superannuation Contributions’ to learn more or use ASIC’s superannuation calculator to see how much of a difference a lump sum contribution could make to your super.
If you wish to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions, you must satisfy the following conditions:
- You meet the age-related conditions (see below);
- You made personal contributions to the fund;
- You have advised your super fund of the amount you intend to claim as a deduction using the approved ATO form; and
- Your super fund has acknowledged your notice of intent and agreed to the amount you intend to claim as a deduction
Age Related Conditions
If you are aged 75 years or older, you can only claim a deduction for contributions you made before the 28th day of the month following the month in which you turned 75.
If you are under 18 years old at the end of the income year in which you made the contribution, you can only claim a deduction for your personal super contributions if you also earned income as an employee or a business operator during the year.
Regardless of your employment arrangement you may be able to claim a tax deduction if you are under 65. Those aged 65 to 74 will still need to meet the “work” test in order to be eligible to make a contribution and claim a tax deduction. The work test is met if you have worked at least 40 hours within 30 consecutive days in a financial year before your super fund can accept any contributions for or from you (including employer contributions, personal contributions, spouse contributions and government co-contributions).
Find out more
Visit the ATOs website to learn more.
Give your deposit a healthy boost
The new First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme allows you to contribute up to $30,000 to your super and withdraw this amount (plus earnings, less tax) to buy your first home. Contributions include before-tax contributions such as salary sacrifice, and after-tax contributions.
Because you’re saving through super, you’ll likely pay less tax than saving outside super, which means you can build a bigger deposit more quickly. If you’re a couple, you can both use the scheme so you could double the amount you save.
Can I apply?
You can apply if:
- you’ve never owned a property in Australia;
- you’re 18 or older when you withdraw your money; and
- you haven’t previously received a First Home Super Saver payment.
You may also be eligible, even if you have previously owned property in Australia, if you have suffered financial hardship.
For more information please call us 08 9480 3500
This is a paid promotion by WA Local Government Superannuation Plan Pty Ltd, as Trustee of the WA Local Government Superannuation Plan (WA Super). Other than payment for advertising, no commissions or other fees are payable to NZRelo. Information provided here will change from time to time, is general in nature and not tailored to your personal and financial situation. You should consider if the information is appropriate to you. Before making a decision about WA Super, you should read the Product Disclosure Statement available at www.wasuper.com.au or by contacting the Fund on (08) 9480 3500. All applications must be made and received in Australia. WA Super is the trading name of WA Local Government Superannuation Plan ABN 18 159 499 614 and its Trustee is WA Local Government Superannuation Plan Pty Ltd ABN 64 066 797 162, AFSL 269006.