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  • Situation for 2012–13 and earlier

    Your fund provides us with information each financial year about contributions made to your super, such as employer contributions, or personal contributions.

    For 2012–13 and prior years, if we identify you have excess contributions before we issue you with an excess contributions tax assessment, we generally write to you so you can check our information. If this information is correct, you are assessed to pay excess contributions tax (ECT).

    If you go over your non-concessional cap, when we send you an assessment notice we also send you a compulsory release authority, which you must use to authorise your fund to release the excess tax amount.

    Paying the excess concessional contributions tax

    If you go over your concessional contributions cap, when we send you an assessment notice we also send you a voluntary release authority which you can give to your fund to help you pay the amount of tax owing.

    You can pay your excess concessional contributions tax in a number of ways.

    You can:

    • pay the tax yourself using your own money and not use the voluntary release authority
    • pay the tax yourself and use the voluntary release authority to ask your super fund to release the money to you
    • use the voluntary release authority to instruct your fund to pay the money to us on your behalf
    • pay using a combination of these options.

    You can use a voluntary release authority to withdraw excess contributions from multiple funds but the total amount withdrawn must not exceed the excess contributions tax amount. Your need to send the voluntary release authority to your fund within 90 days of the issue date.

    Paying the excess non-concessional contributions tax

    If you go over your non-concessional cap, when we send you an assessment notice we also send you a compulsory release authority, which you must use to authorise your fund to release the excess tax amount.

    You must use the compulsory release authority even if you:

    • disagree with the assessment and want to object to it
    • have paid the amount from your own money.

    You can:

    • pay the tax yourself and use the compulsory release authority to ask your super fund to release the money to you
    • use the compulsory release authority to instruct your fund to pay the money to us on your behalf
    • pay using a combination of these options.

    Regardless of how you pay the tax, you must withdraw the full amount of your excess non-concessional contributions tax liability from your super.

    You must give the compulsory release authority to your fund within 21 days to avoid being penalised.

    Your fund can action a compulsory release authority given after 21 days if it receives it within 90 days after the compulsory release authority’s issue date.

    Generally, a fund can't release money to you unless a condition of release is satisfied. A release authority satisfies a condition of release.

    Your fund must:

    • release the correct amount
    • release the amount within 30 days after receiving a valid release authority
    • provide you and us with a statement within 30 days after paying the money from your super.

    If you believe your fund has not acted correctly on a release authority, contact them. If you're still dissatisfied, phone us on 13 10 20.

    If you don’t withdraw money from your fund using a compulsory release authority

    If we assess you have to pay excess non-concessional contributions tax, you must withdraw the excess tax liability amount from your super fund. If it isn't, you could be penalised up to $3,400.

    If you release less than the amount of the excess non-concessional contributions tax from your super, we ask your fund to pay the outstanding amount to us.

    We do this even if you’ve already paid the tax liability, because the excess non-concessional contributions tax liability amount must be taken out of your fund.

    We request payment from your fund using a Commissioner's authority to release excess contributions tax and statement. Your fund will give you and us a statement within 30 days of paying the amount. We let you know by letter when your fund sends us any payment.

    If you already paid the excess non-concessional contributions tax, we apply the payment from the fund against other tax debts you may have. We may also apply the payment against debts you may have with other government agencies.

    If you already paid the excess contributions tax to us and you don't have a tax debt, you will be refunded the money.

    Pay your excess non-concessional contributions tax on time

    The excess non-concessional contributions tax is due and payable 21 days after you receive your notice of assessment.

    If you don't pay the excess non-concessional contributions tax by the due date, general interest charge (GIC) may apply. However, you can request we return any GIC you incur.

    Generally, if you give your release authority to your fund within the time allowed for payment, and your fund makes the payment within 30 days (or any delay in payment was not in your control), we may remit the GIC.

    Paying from super

    If you don’t have enough super in one fund

    If you don’t have enough money in one super fund to pay your liability, you can photocopy the release authority and give it to more than one of your super funds. You must sign each copy with an original signature.

    Ensure the total amount released is not more than your excess non-concessional contributions tax liability, otherwise you will be penalised. Any additional amount released is counted towards your assessable income (and will be taxable) for the year you received it.

    If you have a defined benefit super account

    You can't use a release authority to release an amount from a defined benefit fund.

    You can use your release authority to obtain money from another super fund, even if you didn't make contributions to that fund during the year.

    If all your super is in a defined benefit fund, you can't use the release authority. You must pay the excess non-concessional contributions tax from your own money.

    See also:

    Offer to have excess concessional contributions refunded for 2011–12 and 2012–13 only

    You may receive an offer to have the excess concessional contributions refunded and assessed at your marginal tax rate, rather than pay excess contributions tax.

    This may occur if:

    • you exceeded your concessional contributions cap for the first time in either 2011–12 or 2012–13
    • the amount above the concessional cap is $10,000 or less
    • you lodged a tax return for the relevant financial year within 12 months of the end of that year (or within a longer period, if the Commissioner allows it).

    This is a once-only offer – once you make your choice, it can't be reversed. If you receive an offer, you won't receive another offer in later years.

    If you exceeded your concessional contributions cap by more than $10,000, you are not eligible for the refund offer and are subject to excess contributions tax.

    If you're eligible for the refund offer, we send you a letter detailing the amount of your excess concessional contributions and your options.

    You can choose to accept the refund offer or pay your excess contributions tax liability.

    Before accepting the offer

    Before you decide whether to accept the offer, consider the:

    • income tax implications of accepting an offer
    • refund you may be entitled to on accepting an offer could be used to pay any outstanding ATO or other Commonwealth agency debts (such as Child Support Agency or Centrelink)
    • flow-on impacts of accepting an offer on a range of government income tests used for offsets, surcharges, benefits and payments.

    See also:

      Last modified: 08 Aug 2018QC 19749