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  • If the information used for excess contributions is wrong

    Correcting fund reporting mistakes

    If you receive a notice from us advising you have excess contributions and believe it is incorrect, contact your super fund to discuss the contributions you made and how a contribution cap was exceeded.

    Funds can only re-report your contributions if they previously reported them incorrectly. They must report contributions on the basis of the facts, including the date contributions were received and the contributor's intention at the time the contribution was made.

    A fund can't re-report contributions simply to help you avoid excess contributions.

    If there has been a mistake, the fund is required to correct records with us.

    Occasionally, complicated circumstances may lead the fund to believe it can't correct contributions records.

    If your super fund tells you they can't correct a mistake in contributions records, call us on 13 10 20.

    Example 1: Correcting fund reporting mistakes

    Michael is nearing retirement age and for the last few years made regular personal contributions to the fund Perfect Super to increase his super balance.

    Unknown to Michael, Perfect Super staff made errors processing his contributions, reporting these contributions as employer contributions, rather than personal contributions.

    This caused Michael to go over his concessional contributions cap, and we included the excess in Michael's assessable income.

    Michael checked his records and contacted Perfect Super to ask for the error to be corrected.

    Perfect Super accepted an error was made and they had an obligation to correct their records.

    Perfect Super updated the ATO records by submitting an Amended Member Contributions Statement within 28 days of becoming aware of the error.

    End of example

    Disagreeing with income tax assessment information

    Any personal contributions allowed as a deduction in your tax return are used to calculate your concessional and non-concessional contributions and in turn, any excess contributions.

    If you want to claim a tax deduction for your personal super contributions, you must complete a notice of intent to claim deduction in the approved form and give it to your super fund.

    The amount you're allowed as a personal super deduction in your tax return is counted towards your concessional (before-tax) contributions.

    The amount you're not allowed to claim as a deduction is counted towards your non-concessional (after-tax) contributions cap.

    If you do not claim the correct amount in your tax return, or do not claim it at the correct label, you can request an amendment. We may confirm this information with your fund before amending your income tax assessment.

    You can object if you think the amount allowed or not allowed as a personal super deduction was incorrect.

    If you amend your tax return, we use this amended information to recalculate your excess contributions. We may seek further information in some circumstances.

    Next step:

    See also:

    If you disagree with your ECT assessment, excess concessional contributions determination or excess non-concessional contributions determination

    We make assessments and determinations based on information provided by your fund about your contributions, and by you in your tax return.

    After we make an excess contributions tax assessment or determination, if your fund amends your contribution information or you amend your deduction for personal super contributions on your tax return, we may amend your excess contributions tax assessment or determination.

    It may take up to six weeks for you to receive an amended notice of assessment or determination.

    We may also amend your excess contributions tax assessment or determination without a request from you when this information changes.

    We can initiate an amendment to your excess contributions tax assessment or determination without your request for up to four years from the day we give you the assessment.

    You can object

    If you receive an ECT assessment, an excess concessional contributions determination or excess non-concessional contributions determination from us, and you think we applied the law incorrectly, you should object to the assessment or determination by completing the relevant form.

    Even if you object, you must still pay the liability.

    To obtain an objection form and instructions on how to complete it, refer to:

    If you haven't received an ECT assessment, an excess concessional contributions determination or excess non-concessional contributions determination, you can apply for a determination to have some or all of your contributions disregarded or allocated to another year if all the contributions have been made.

    See also:

    Disregarding or reallocating your contributions

    If you believe your super contributions exceeded or will exceed a contributions cap due to special circumstances, you can apply for a determination so some or all of your contributions are disregarded or allocated to another year.

    Our special circumstances document will help you understand how to apply for a determination and what we consider when making a decision.

    We can only disregard or allocate your contributions to another year if both the following apply:

    • there are special circumstances
    • the decision is in line with the object of Division 291 or Division 292 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

    If we find you have special circumstances, and disregarding or allocating some or all of your contributions to another year would be in line with the object of the legislation, we also consider:

    • whether the contributions would be more appropriately allocated to another financial year
    • whether it was reasonably foreseeable you would have excess contributions when a contribution was made
    • the extent to which you had control over the making of the contribution
    • whether there are other relevant factors.

    Special circumstances

    Special circumstances are unusual or out of the ordinary factors that lead to an unjust, unreasonable or otherwise inappropriate outcome.

    There is no strict formula or checklist to work out what special circumstances are – each case is considered on its own merits.

    Situations not generally considered special circumstances include:

    • financial hardship from having to pay excess contributions tax
    • thinking the assessment or determination is unfair
    • not meaning to exceed a cap
    • not knowing about or misunderstanding the law or facts
    • receiving incorrect or incomplete professional advice
    • making a mistake.

    Even if we think your circumstances are special, we can only disregard or reallocate excess contributions if it's consistent with the object of the relevant legislation to do so – which is to ensure contributions made to a person's super have been made gradually over time.

    This is achieved by introducing a cap on the amount of contributions that can be made on your behalf each year, and imposing a tax and/or charge on contributions in excess of your cap.

    Our decision must take into account all of your relevant circumstances. Any part of your circumstances could be relevant to our decision if it influenced the planning or making of your contributions.

    Our common scenarios and examples are designed to help you understand how we consider whether you have special circumstances. They are a guide only. Each decision depends entirely on your specific circumstances.

    See also:

    • For a more detailed explanation about what we consider when you make an application, refer to Law Administration Practice Statement PS LA 2008/1 The Commissioner's discretion to disregard or reallocate concessional and non-concessional contributions for a financial year.
    • For more detailed information about when a contribution is made, refer to TR 2010/1 Income tax: superannuation contributions.

    Applying to have contributions disregarded or reallocated

    To apply for your contributions to be disregarded or allocated to another financial year, complete and send us the Application – excess contributions determination form.

    Note: you don't have to use our form, but your application must include all the information we request in our form. If it doesn't, we may not be able to consider your application.

    After completing your application, either:

    • fax it to 1300 669 846
    • send it to us at

      Australian Taxation Office
      PO Box 3100
      PENRITH NSW 2740

    You should not apply for the Commissioner's discretion if you believe we have:

    • relied on incorrect information – you should attempt to get the information corrected
    • applied the law incorrectly – you should object to the assessment, explaining where you think we applied the law incorrectly.

    If you went over your non-concessional (after-tax) contributions cap because of a single contribution, your super fund may have been required to return the excess amount to you. If this relates to you, discuss it with your super fund.

    Time limits

    If an ECT assessment, excess concessional contributions determination or excess non-concessional contributions determination has not been issued – you can apply for a determination at any time after all the contributions you want disregarded or reallocated have been made.

    If an ECT assessment, excess concessional contributions determination or excess non-concessional contributions determination has issued – you must apply within 60 days of receiving the assessment or determination.

    We may accept your application after 60 days if you can show you were unable to apply within the required time. It is important you include this explanation with your application.

    To elect your excess concessional contributions refer to:

    When a decision is made to disregard or reallocate your contributions

    If we decide to disregard or reallocate your contributions, we write to you to let you know our decision.

    We amend your ECT assessment, excess concessional contributions determination or excess non-concessional contributions determination to disregard or reallocate your contributions to another year.

    Your super fund won't need to re-report your contributions if we decide to disregard or reallocate an amount.

    Our decision won't alter your eligibility for a super co-contribution or to claim a deduction for personal contributions.

    Any amount disregarded or reallocated is only for the purposes of excess contributions.

    Disagreeing with an application decision

    If your application is not successful and you disagree with our reasoning, you can lodge an objection to our decision by completing the relevant form.

    Next steps:

      Last modified: 08 Aug 2018QC 19749