How do you put savings into super?
So you’re on board with topping up super with extra payments to grow your balance faster. Find out what’s involved and how to make it as easy as possible.
Super easy ways to save for retirement
How super works makes it easy to save for your future in retirement. As you earn money, your employer is required to make super guarantee payments into your super fund. That’s happening without you having to lift a finger.
But there’s a lot more you can do to look after your money in super and that includes saving a little (or a lot) extra. There are a few different ways you can do this:
The amount you decide to save is completely up to you and you can stop making these payments whenever you like. Even an extra $10 or $20 each month can make a difference to your balance, if you can keep it up and make good investment choices for your super savings too. Not only that, but you could even be saving on your income tax each time you get paid.
Salary sacrifice is one way to make regular before-tax payments into your super savings. As a set and forget solution, it helps you save without having to think or do anything else. But if you’re not ready to commit to making these payments from your income, you can still top up your super with regular or one-off transfers from any of your bank accounts. These are after-tax contributions also known as a personal contribution or non-concessional contribution
As you generally can’t access your money in super until retirement, you might be more comfortable saving into a regular account from week to week or month to month. If you find you don’t need that money for anything else, you can move it across to your super fund when you’re ready - by making regular or one-off transfers using BPay or a direct debit arrangement with your super fund.
If you do this, you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction on the amount you put into super, if you meet certain criteria. While a tax deduction will reduce your taxable income, the amount of personal contributions you claim will be taxed at 15% inside super. To claim a tax deduction you must complete a ‘Notice of intent to claim’ or vary a deduction for personal contributions’ form and give it to your super fund by the due date. This form is available on the Australian Taxation Office website.
If your partner is a low-income earner, you can help them save more super by making extra payments (a spouse contribution) into their account. You can also split your super guarantee payments with them up to a certain amount. They still count towards your cap, but this can be a helpful way of boosting your spouse’s lower balance.
If your partner is earning less than a certain amount, you may also benefit from a further tax offset for spouse contributions which is where you make an additional after-tax contribution into your partner’s account.
Visit the ATO website to find out more about super contributions splitting and the tax offset for super contributions on behalf of your spouse
Know your limitsWhile saving more into super is definitely a good thing to do, there are limits on how much you can save. In any financial year, you can make before-tax payments (also called concessional contributions) up to $27,500 in total. This includes the super guarantee and salary sacrifice payments your employer is making on your behalf, plus any personal contributions you’ve claimed as a tax deduction. If your payments into super have been under the concessional contributions cap in the past (the limit went up from $25,000 to $27,500 from 1 July 2021) you may be able to make extra payments on top of this $27,500 by using any unused cap amounts from previous financial years. This is called the carry-forward of unused concessional contributions but there are eligibility criteria you need to meet.
That’s a lot of numbers to try and figure out and you probably don’t remember how much super you paid last year or the year before that. For an easy way to find out how much extra super you can contribute in this financial year you can visit MyGov and go to ATO online services to check on your unused concessional contributions cap, as well as see if you are eligible for the concessional carry forward.