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  • Personal contributions

    If you wish, you can put your own money into your super fund – this is called making a personal contribution. You may be able to:

    • add to your super if you’re not working
    • claim a tax deduction for your contributions if, for example, you’re self-employed (employees usually can’t claim a deduction).

    You may also be able to make contributions into your spouse’s super fund.

    Personal contributions generally come from your after-tax pay or business profits. Unless you’re allowed an income tax deduction for them, they will count towards your non-concessional contributions cap.

    The earlier you start contributing to super, the more you’re likely to benefit when you retire. This is due to the compounding effect of super as a long-term investment and, in part, to super generally being managed in a low-tax environment.


    To find out how much you’ll need for your retirement, how much you may get and how much you need to add to your super, you should consider seeing a licensed financial adviser.

    If you make personal contributions that you don’t claim as an income tax deduction, and you’re a low- to middle-income earner, you may be eligible for the super co-contribution.

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    Further information

    For more information about choosing a financial adviser or to use a super calculator, visit ASIC’s consumer website – MoneySmart – at Link

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    Adding to super if you’re not working

    You can make personal after-tax contributions to your super fund or retirement savings account if you’re not working, provided you’re under 65 years of age.

    If you’re 65 years of age or over, you can only make personal after-tax super contributions if you:

    • aren’t yet 75 years of age and
    • have been gainfully employed for at least 40 hours over 30 consecutive days during the financial year.

    Claiming a deduction for super contributions

    Employees generally can’t claim a tax deduction for personal super contributions.

    You may be able to claim a full income tax deduction for personal contributions you make to your super until you turn 75 years of age if you’re:

    • self-employed – that is, a sole trader or a partner in a partnership
    • not employed or earn less than 10% of your total income from employment.

    If you wish to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions, you must complete and lodge a notice of intent, in the approved form, with your super fund and have this notice acknowledged (in writing) by your fund. You need to give your notice of intent to your fund before the earlier of:

    • the day you lodge your income tax return for the year in which you made the contribution, or
    • the end of the income year following the year in which you made the contribution.

    However, if you claim a deduction for all of your personal contributions, you won’t be eligible for a super co-contribution. If you choose to claim a deduction for a portion of your personal contributions, the remainder may be eligible for a super co-contribution if you meet the other super co-contribution eligibility requirements. Consider seeing a licensed financial planner to work out the best course for you.


    If you:

    • claim a tax deduction for any super contributions you make, those contributions will be subject to 15% tax in the fund (that is, they become concessional in nature)
    • contribute over the concessional or non-concessional contributions caps, you’ll be liable for extra tax on those contributions.
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    Spouse contributions

    You can add to your spouse’s super if your spouse is:

    • under 65 years of age, or
    • under 70 years of age and has been in paid work for at least 40 hours over 30 consecutive days during the financial year in which you want to make the contribution for your spouse.

    In some circumstances you may be able to claim an income tax rebate for any spouse contributions you make.

    Further information

    Contact your fund for more information about adding to your spouse’s super.

    Same-sex partners can now have their relationship recognised by their super fund. For more information, refer to Super for same-sex couples and their children (individuals).

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    If your spouse is on a low income, you may be able to claim an income tax offset of up to $540 for contributions you make on their behalf. For more information, refer to Superannuation spouse contribution tax offset.

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    • Last modified: 02 Aug 2013QC 23225