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  • Claiming deductions for personal super contributions

    Find out how to claim tax deductions for personal contributions to a super fund or retirement savings account.

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    Who can claim a deduction

    You can't claim a deduction for superannuation contributions paid by your employer directly to your super fund from your before-tax income such as:

    You may be able to claim a tax deduction for personal super contributions that you made to your super fund from your after-tax income, for example, from your bank account directly to your super fund.

    Before you can claim a deduction for your personal super contributions, you must give your super fund a Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal contributions form (NAT 71121) and receive an acknowledgement from your fund. There are other eligibility criteria that you must meet.

    People eligible to claim a deduction for personal contributions include people who get their income from:

    • salary and wages
    • a personal business (for example, people who are self-employed contractors, or freelancers)
    • investments (including interest, dividends, rent and capital gains)
    • government pensions or allowances
    • superannuation
    • partnership or trust distributions
    • a foreign source.

    The personal super contributions that you claim as a deduction will count towards your concessional contributions cap. When deciding whether to claim a deduction for super contributions, you should consider the super impacts that may arise from this, including whether:

    • you will exceed your contribution caps
    • Division 293 tax applies to you
    • you wish to split your contributions with your spouse
    • it will affect your super co-contribution eligibility.

    If you exceed your cap, you will have to pay extra tax and any excess concessional contributions will count towards your non-concessional contributions cap.

    For more information, see Super contributions – too much can mean extra tax.

    Eligibility to claim a deduction

    Check your eligibility to claim a deduction for your personal superannuation contributions.

    Find out about

    Contributions you can claim

    You are eligible to claim a deduction for personal super contributions if:

    • for contributions made prior to 1 July 2017
      • they were made to a complying super fund or a retirement savings account (we'll refer to both as 'your fund')
      • your earnings as an employee were less than the maximum allowed
       
    • for contributions made on or after 1 July 2017, you made the contributions to your fund that was not a
      • Commonwealth public sector super scheme in which you have a defined benefit interest
      • Constitutionally protected fund (CPF) or other untaxed fund that would not include your contribution in its assessable income
      • super fund that notified us before the start of the income year that they elected to either treat all member contributions to the
        • super fund as non-deductible
        • defined benefit interest within the fund as non-deductible
         
       
    • you meet the age restrictions
    • you have given your fund a Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal contributions form (NAT 71121)
    • your fund has validated your notice of intent form and sent you an acknowledgement.

    Earning income as an employee

    For contributions made prior to 1 July 2017 you can't claim a deduction if, during the income year, you obtained 10% or more of the total of the following as an employee:

    This is the case regardless of whether your employer has paid super on your behalf.

    From 1 July 2017 the requirement that you derive less than 10% of your income from employment sources has been abolished and regardless of your employment arrangement you may be able to claim a tax deduction.

    From 1 July 2022, if you are between 67 to 75 years old you will be able to make or receive personal contributions and salary sacrificed contributions without meeting the work test, subject to the existing contribution caps. You will still be required to meet the work test or the work test exemption criteria to claim a deduction for personal superannuation contributions.

    For 2020-21 and 2021-22 years, you are required to meet the work test or the work test exemption criteria if you are 67 to 75 years old to be eligible to make a contribution and claim a tax deduction.

    For years 2019-20 and prior, you were required to meet the work test if you were 65 to 75 years old.

    Example 1: eligible to claim a deduction for personal super contributions

    Hannah is employed as a sales manager and, during 2017–18, earns $45,000 in salary and wages.

    Hannah made personal (after-tax) super contributions of $3,000, gave her fund a notice of intent form to claim this amount as a deduction, and received an acknowledgment of that notice.

    Hannah meets all the other eligibility criteria and can claim a deduction for her personal super contributions of $3,000 in her 2017–18 tax return.

    End of example

     

    Example 2: personal contributions to a CPF

    During 2016–17, Marcelle makes a contribution of $100,000 to the CPF. Marcelle intended to claim a deduction for her contribution, gave her fund a notice of intent form to claim this amount as a deduction, and received an acknowledgment of that notice. She meets all the other eligibility criteria and can claim a deduction for her personal super contributions in her 2016–17 tax return.

    Marcelle’s concessional contributions in 2016–17 are nil as the contribution made to the CPF is not included in her concessional contributions.

    During 2017–18, Marcelle chooses not to make any personal contributions to the CPF, as she is no longer entitled to claim a deduction for her personal super contributions made to a CPF.

    End of example

    For more information, see Guide for employees and self-employed – reportable superannuation contributions.

    Age restrictions

    If you are 75 years old 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.

    Work test

    There are age-related conditions under which your super fund can accept your contributions. A work test still applies to individuals aged between 67 and 75 years old who wish to claim a deduction for personal superannuation contributions. The work test that applied to accepting non-concessional and salary sacrifice contributions before 30 June 2022 no longer applies from 1 July 2022.

    To satisfy the work test, you must work at least 40 hours during a consecutive 30 day period each income year. The work test exemption applies from 1 July 2019. You are also able to access the limited exception to the work test that applies on a ‘one-off’ basis

    To meet the work test exemption criteria, you must have:

    • satisfied the work test in the income year preceding the year in which you made the contribution
    • a total super balance of less than $300,000 at the end of the previous income year
    • not relied on the work test exemption in a previous financial year.
    Table 1: Work test and work test exemption by financial year and age

    Year

    Age

    Work Test and Work Test Exemption Conditions

    2004–05 to 2018–19

    Under 65 years old

    You do not need to meet the work test

    2004–05 to 2018–19

    65 to 74 years old

    You need to meet the work test

    2019–20

    Under 65 years old

    You do not need to meet the work test or satisfy the work test exemption criteria

    2019–20

    65 to 74 years old

    You need to meet the work test or satisfy the work test exemption criteria

    2020–21 and 2021-22

    Under 67 years old

    You do not need to meet the work test or satisfy the work test exemption criteria

    2020–21 and 2021-22

    67 to 74 years old

    You need to meet the work test or satisfy the work test exemption criteria

    2022–23 onwards

    Under 75 years old

    You do not need to meet the work test or satisfy the work test exemption criteria.

    If you are over 67 and less than 75 years old you need to meet work test if you wish to claim the Personal superannuation contribution deduction (PSCD).

     

    Example 3: work test to claim a deduction for personal super contributions

    In 2021–22, Kumiko turns 66 years old. This year, she does not need to satisfy the work test or meet the work test exemption criteria to be able to claim a deduction for personal super contributions in her 2021–22 tax return. However, she must still give her fund a notice of intent and receive an acknowledgement of the notice.

    In 2022–23 Kumiko turns 67 years old. This year even though she still does not need to satisfy the work test or work test exemption to be able to contribute to her super fund she will need to satisfy the work test or meet the work test exemption criteria to be able to claim a deduction for personal super contributions and continue to provide her fund with a notice of intent.

    End of example

    What you can’t claim

    You can't claim deductions for:

    • a rolled over super benefit
    • a benefit transferred from a foreign super fund
    • a directed termination payment paid into a super plan by an employer under transitional arrangements that applied until 30 June 2012
    • contributions paid by your employer from your before-tax income (including the compulsory super guarantee and salary sacrifice amounts)
    • First Home Super Saver (FHSS) amounts that you have recontributed to your super fund(s)
    • contributions to    
      • a Commonwealth public sector super scheme in which you have a defined benefit interest
      • a super fund that would not include the contribution in their assessable income, such as an untaxed fund or a constitutionally protected fund (CPF)
      • other super funds or contributions specified in the regulations
    • contributions made from 1 July 2018 to a super fund that are identified as downsizer contributions
    • re-contribution of COVID-19 early release of superannuation amounts.

    How to make a claim

    If you are eligible and want to claim a tax deduction for your personal super contributions, you must first notify your fund that you intend to do so.

    Find out about

    Notice of intent to your fund

    The notice you give to your fund must be both valid and in the approved form.

    A notice of intent is only valid if:

    • you are still a member of your fund
    • your fund still holds the contribution (special rules apply for full or partial voluntary rollovers, and situations where there has been a successor fund transfer or a MySuper transfer)
    • it does not include all or part of an amount covered by a previous notice
    • your fund has not started paying a super income stream using any of the contribution
    • you haven’t lodged an application to split the contribution for which you intend to claim a deduction (even if the application hasn’t been dealt with by your fund)
    • the contributions in the notice of intent have not been released from the fund you've given notice to under the FHSS scheme
    • the contributions in the notice of intent don't include FHSS amounts that you recontributed to your fund.

    If you give your fund a notice of intent after you have rolled over your entire super interest to another fund (closed your account) or withdrawn your entire super interest (paid it out of super as a lump sum), your notice will not be valid. This means you will not be able to claim a deduction for the personal contributions you made before the rollover or withdrawal.

    If you have partially rolled over or withdrawn your super interest (which included the contribution you made), your notice will not be valid for the entire contribution. You can only validly deduct the proportion of your contribution that remains in the fund.

    You can provide a single notice of intent that covers all the personal (after tax) contributions you made to your super fund during the year (you don’t need to provide a notice of intent for each contribution).

    You will need to provide a notice of intent to each super fund if you made contributions to more than one fund.

    Approved form for making a claim

    You can provide your notice of intent in the approved form by either:

    • completing a Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions (NAT 71121)
    • using your fund's own paper form
    • writing to your fund, stating you wish to claim a tax deduction for your personal super contributions and including the following
      • your first name
      • your family name
      • your date of birth
      • your fund name
      • your fund member account number
      • the income year in which the personal contributions were made
      • the total amount of personal contributions made to the fund in that income year
      • the amount of these personal contributions you intend to claim as a tax deduction
      • a declaration that you are lodging this notice by the due date
      • a statement that the information contained in your letter is true and correct
      • your signature
      • the date (day, month and year)
       
    • completing an electronic form on your fund's website, if available (check with your fund to ensure they developed their form according to our guidelines).

    When to give your notice of intent

    You must give a notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction to your fund by the earlier of either the:

    • day you lodge your tax return for the year in which you made the contributions
    • end of the income year following the one in which you made the contributions.

    Your fund must send you a written acknowledgment, telling you they have received a valid notice from you. You must receive the acknowledgment from your fund before you claim the deduction on your tax return.

    How to complete your tax return

    When you complete your tax return, you can claim a deduction for the amount of the contribution stated on your notice of intent. If you want to claim an amount that is different (more or less) than what the notice says, you can vary your notice of intent.

    Make sure that you claim your deduction at the correct label in your tax return. Deductions for personal super contributions must be claimed at Personal superannuation contributions in the Individual tax return supplement.

    If you are lodging through myTax the deduction must be claimed at Personal super contributions.

    Not claiming your super deductions at the correct label may result in:

    • an incorrect super co-contribution determination or excess contributions tax assessment
    • an additional tax liability
    • the imposition of a tax shortfall penalty.

    How to vary your notice of intent

    You can vary your notice of intent to claim a deduction, but only to reduce the amount stated in the notice. You can vary the amount by reducing it, including to nil, but you can't revoke or withdraw the notice.

    If you want to increase the amount you intend to claim as a deduction, you do not give your fund a variation notice. Instead, you give a second notice specifying the additional amount you wish to claim. This second notice is subject to the due date for lodging.

    To vary your notice of intent to claim a deduction, you may complete a Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions (NAT 71121) and give it to your fund.

    Alternatively, you can use your fund's own form, or write to your fund. If you're writing a letter to your fund, you must include:

    • the information that was in your original notice of intent
    • a statement that you wish to vary your previous notice of intent to reduce the amount of personal contributions for which a tax deduction will be claimed
    • the amount you now intend to claim (which may be nil).

    Required date for varying your notice of intent

    You can vary a notice of intent up until the due date for lodging a claim (see when to give your notice of intent).

    However, if the deduction you claimed is not allowable, in whole or in part, you can vary your notice after the required date to reduce the amount stated in the notice by the amount not allowable.

    You can't vary your notice of intent if:

    • you are no longer a member of the fund or the holder of a retirement savings account
    • the trustee
      • no longer holds the contribution
      • has begun to pay a super income stream based wholly or in part on the contribution.
       

    Your fund will send you written acknowledgment after receiving your valid notice of intent to vary your deduction for personal super contributions.

    Splitting amounts to your spouse

    If you're planning to split all or part of your contributions with your spouse but you also want to claim a tax deduction for them, you must give the notice of intent to claim a deduction first.

    After you have notified your fund of your intention to claim a deduction, you can then lodge a Superannuation contributions splitting application (NAT 15237) with them.

    If you lodge these the other way round and your fund has accepted your application to split your contributions, they can't accept the notice to claim a deduction.

    The effects of claiming a deduction

    Find out about the effects of claiming a deduction for your super contributions.

    Taxable income

    When you complete your tax return, your deductions reduce your taxable income and consequently reduce the amount of tax you need to pay.

    Treatment in the fund

    Personal super contributions you claim as a tax deduction are included in your fund's assessable income and are taxed at the rate of 15%. Your fund will withhold this amount from your super account.

    Government super payments

    If you claim a deduction for a personal contribution, you may be eligible for a low income superannuation tax offset on the tax paid on the contribution. You will not be eligible for a super co-contribution on the amount.

    Contributions caps

    There is no limit on the amount you can claim as a deduction. However, there are caps on the amount of super contributions you can make before you pay extra tax.

    Division 293

    If your income is more than $250,000 you may have to pay an additional 15% tax on your super contributions.

    Income tests

    If you claim an income tax deduction for your personal contributions, the deductible personal contributions will count towards your reportable super contributions. As a result, the deduction will affect your income for the purpose of:

    • some tax offsets
    • deductions
    • concessions
    • the Medicare levy surcharge
    • certain government benefits and obligations.

    Example 1: effects of claiming a deduction after 1 July 2017

    During 2019–20 Christie is employed as a full-time hairdresser and earns $35,000 in assessable income. Christie is eligible to claim a deduction as she is not required to meet the 10% income test.

    Christie contributes $5,000 to her super fund as a personal contribution. If she wanted to claim an income tax deduction for the super contribution, she would give her fund a notice of intent and receive an acknowledgment from her fund. Having done this, Christie could claim a tax deduction of $5,000, making her taxable income $30,000. However, her fund would pay 15% tax on the $5,000, so only $4,250 would be credited to Christie's super fund account. Additionally, Christie would be eligible for the low income superannuation tax offset, so the government would refund her offset into her super account. However, she would not be eligible for a super co-contribution.

    If Christie decided to claim a personal income tax deduction for $4,000 instead of the entire $5,000, this would mean:

    • her taxable income would be $31,000
    • her fund would have to pay 15% tax on the $4,000, so $3,400 would be credited to her account
    • she may be eligible for the super co-contribution, if she meets all other co-contribution eligibility requirements, in respect of the $1,000 that was not claimed as a deduction, in which case the government would pay her co-contribution entitlement ($500) into her super account
    • she would be eligible for the low income superannuation tax offset, so the government would refund her offset into her super account.
    End of example
      Last modified: 07 Jul 2022QC 20139