Your 6-step super check
A basic guide to super entitlements and the 6 steps you can take to help sort out and grow your super.
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Managing your super doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. You can simply:
- find out about your super entitlements
- do our 6-step super check to help sort out and grow your super.
You might like to do the check at least once a year – for instance, when you're doing your tax or in the new year. It’s also a good idea to review your super when you start back at work after a break, change jobs or when you are planning to retire.
Your super entitlements
Super is money set aside over your lifetime to provide for your retirement. If you look after your super now, you will have more money to enjoy later. Retirement may seem a long way off, but the great thing about super is that it works for you while you’re doing other things.
In most cases, if you have a job, your employer has to put money into your super account. This is called the super guarantee (SG) and it’s the law.
If you are a contractor that works mainly for your labour you may be treated as an employee for SG purposes and will be able to choose the super fund you want your contributions paid into.
If you've set up and are running your own small business, don't forget to invest in super for yourself.
From 1 July 2017, regardless of your employment arrangement, you may be able to claim a full tax deduction for personal contributions you make to your super fund until you turn 75 years old. Keep in mind that contributions you make may be subject to extra tax if they exceed the contributions limit for that year.
Your eligibility for super
Most people are entitled to SG contributions from their employer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re full time, part time or casual, or if you’re a temporary resident of Australia. If you’re less than 18 years old you must work more than 30 hours in a week to be entitled to SG.
Prior to 1 July 2022, you needed to be paid $450 or more in a calendar month (before tax) to be entitled to SG.
If you’re a contractor paid 'wholly or principally for labour', you’re considered an employee for super purposes and entitled to SG under the same rules as employees.
Since 1 July 2013, you must be paid super if you're:
- aged 70 years or over
You may not be eligible if you are paid to do domestic or private work for no more than 30 hours per week.
Your employer's contribution
If you’re eligible for SG, your employer must pay a minimum amount based on the current super guarantee rate of your ordinary time earnings into your super account at least every 3 months to avoid the super guarantee charge.
If you need help to calculate the amount of super guarantee your employer should be paying, you can use our Estimate my super tool.
Example: minimum employer super contribution
During the first quarter of the 2022–23 financial year (1 July – 30 September 2022) Julie's ordinary time earnings were $8,000.
The super contribution Julie's employer must make for her for that quarter is:
10.5% × $8,000 = $840.
Under the super guarantee law, an employer must pay a minimum amount based on the current super guarantee rate of the ordinary time earnings of an employee to avoid the super guarantee charge.
End of example
Choosing a super fund
Most people can choose the super fund they want their super paid into, as long as it’s a complying fund under Australian regulations. Having multiple super accounts could mean you are paying multiple fees and charges, which may reduce your retirement savings.
You don't need to choose a new super fund every time you start a new job. You can usually choose to have your super paid into your current super fund account. Keeping the one super fund can help save on fees and charges over time.
From 1 November 2021, if you start a new job your employer may have an extra step to take to comply with choice of fund rules if you don’t choose a super fund. They may need to request details of your 'stapled super fund' from us.
A stapled super fund is an existing super account which is linked, or 'stapled', to an individual employee so that it follows them as they change jobs.
We will notify you if your employer makes a stapled super fund request and the fund details we have provided.
The 6-step check
There are 6 simple things you can do that can make a difference to your super savings over time, meaning more money for you when you retire:
- Check your super statements
- Make sure your fund has your TFN
- Keep track of your super using myGov
- Consider government contributions
- Put extra money into your super
- Nominate your super beneficiary
1. Check your super statements
Generally, your super fund will send you a statement at the end of the financial year or provide an online service so you can check your balance any time. The annual statement provides you with information about:
- your balance
- contributions made to your account during the year
- any insurance cover you have with the fund
- fees and performance.
In addition to a statement, most funds provide an online facility that allows you to login to check your account at any time.
It is important to check that your employer is paying the correct amount of super on your behalf. If you are unsure how much your employer should be paying you can use the Estimate my super tool. If your employer is not paying the correct amount, you can report this to us online.
Many super funds arrange life and disability cover for their members, for a fee. Having insurance for accidents and illness can provide a sense of security for you and your family. However, it is important you know what cover you have as you might have similar cover under another type of policy. This might mean you are paying for the same cover twice.
When checking your statement, you should take note of the fees. Super funds charge you fees for the services they provide. Generally, a super fund with low fees will build your savings faster. You can use the YourSuper comparison tool to compare funds and ensure you are using a super fund that best suits your situation.
Checking your super statement is a good time to see if you have any other super. For more information see keeping track of your super.
2. Make sure your fund has your TFN
If your super fund has your tax file number (TFN), it will make it easier for them to report your super account information to us. It also helps us display your super information to you when you use our online services, and helps you keep track of your super.
You can check if your fund has your TFN by looking at your super statement. If your TFN is not listed, contact your fund and give it to them. The benefits of providing your fund with your TFN are:
- your fund will pay less tax on employer contributions (and pass the savings on to you)
- you are less likely to lose track of a super account
- you will not miss out on government super payments – for example, the government co-contribution
- you will be able to make personal (after tax) contributions to the fund.
3. Keep track of your super using myGov
You can create a myGov account and link to the ATO to:
- see details of all your super accounts, including any you have lost track of or forgotten about
- use the YourSuper comparison tool to compare the performance and fees of your super accounts against other MySuper products
- see details of your total super balance and your transfer balance cap
- find ATO-held super – this is money the ATO is holding for you and may include government super contributions, amounts received from employers and super amounts received from super providers.
- combine multiple super accounts by transferring your super into your preferred super account. If this is a fund-to-fund transfer, it will usually be actioned within 3 working days. Before you consolidate accounts, you may want to seek advice on fees this may incur or insurance cover you may lose.
4. Consider government contributions
If you're a low or middle income earner, the government may help boost your savings through the super co-contribution.
The co-contribution is a government payment you may get if you make personal (after-tax) super contributions into a complying super fund account. It is paid directly into your super account. There is a maximum income limit that is indexed each year.
To receive the maximum co-contribution, you need to earn the lower income threshold specific to the relevant financial year and make contributions into your super account during that year.
If your income is over the lower income threshold, the co-contribution rate reduces until the maximum income limit is reached. Then the co-contribution is phased out completely.
5. Put extra money into your super
You can make payments into your super fund account over and above the SG rate your employer pays on your behalf. This can really help to build your super over time, and can help you make up for periods when you are not working. Even small amounts will make a difference.
Salary sacrifice is when you and your employer make an agreement to pay some of your before-tax (gross) salary or wages into your super.
If you want to make salary sacrifice contributions, talk to your employer to make sure they allow it and that you understand the benefits. For example:
- salary sacrifice reduces your tax assessable income
- before tax super contributions are taxed in your super fund at 15%, which is usually less than you would pay if you took the money as salary.
There are limits on how much you can contribute to super each year before being charged extra tax.
The cap on before-tax, or 'concessional' contributions was $25,000 from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2021.
From 1 July 2021, the concessional contributions cap increased to $27,500.
After-tax, or non-concessional contributions, are generally contributions you make into your super fund after tax has been paid on the money. They include:
- personal contributions you make from your after-tax pay that you are not allowed to claim as an income tax deduction – these contributions can qualify for the government co-contribution
- contributions your spouse makes to your fund on your behalf.
Planning for work breaks
Making extra super contributions while you are working can help prepare you for work breaks such as parental leave.
If you have a spouse, they can also make super contributions on your behalf and may be entitled to a tax offset for this. From 1 July 2017, the spouse income threshold for the tax offset increased from $13,800 to less than $40,000, meaning more people will be eligible.
6. Nominate your super beneficiary
It’s sensible to think about what you want to happen to your super when you die. People can die unexpectedly at any time, so you should consider this as part of setting up and managing your super from the outset.
Super is likely to be one of the biggest assets you accumulate in your lifetime. The money adds up over time, yet many don’t think about it or even see it as their own money.
When a person’s super is paid after their death it’s called a ‘super death benefit’, which is made up of the deceased person’s super fund account balance and any associated insurance benefit. Even if you don’t have much super, the insurance payment could be worth thousands of dollars.
Generally, super is not included in your will. Wills cover assets that you own such as your house, car, savings and personal items. Because your super is held in trust by your super fund trustee, it is governed by different laws, compared to the laws relevant to wills and estates.
To make sure your super death benefit goes to your preferred beneficiary, nominate them through your super fund. You should also advise the people you have nominated.
If you don’t make the necessary arrangements in time, your chosen beneficiary may have difficulty accessing your super death benefit.
Ensure your beneficiaries are up-to date and valid. It is wise to review them annually and make appropriate amendments if your personal circumstances change.
The tax treatment of super death benefit payments differs depending on whether the recipient is a dependant for tax law purposes. Tax law dependants are confined to the deceased’s spouse (including an ex-spouse), children under 18, an interdependent person or a financial dependant. These dependants will receive the superannuation death benefit tax-free; others will incur some tax. More information can be found at Super death benefits.
A dependant beneficiary may be able to take the super death benefit as a lump sum or a pension. If they take it as a pension, it will count towards their transfer balance cap. More information can be found at Death benefit income streams and your transfer balance cap.
If you are unsure of what to do, contact your superannuation fund or seek independent financial or legal advice specific to your circumstances.
More tools and information
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) website MoneySmartExternal Link helps people make smart choices about their personal finances. This is free independent guidance to help you make the best choices for your money, including a:
A basic guide to super entitlements and the 6 steps you can take to help sort out and grow your super.