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Approved early retirement schemes

Find out how an early retirement scheme encourages certain groups or classes of employees to retire early or resign.

Last updated 10 June 2024

What is an approved early retirement scheme?

An approved early retirement scheme is a payment which is tax-free to a limit. These schemes are put in place by employers to encourage certain groups or classes of employees to retire early or resign.

For employees to get special concessional tax rates, the Commissioner of Taxation must approve the scheme before payments start.

Tax on an early retirement scheme payment

The tax-free amount of the early retirement scheme payments depends on the number of years you worked for your employer. The tax-free limit is a whole dollar amount, plus an amount for each whole year of service with that employer. Indexation changes the tax-free limit on 1 July each year.

The tax-free amount is not part of your employment termination payment (ETP). Any payment amount over the tax-free limit is treated as an ETP.

The concessional taxation treatment for genuine redundancy and early retirement scheme payments now extends to individuals who are 65 years of age or older, if they are dismissed or retire before they reach pension age. This applies to payments made on or after 1 July 2019. Before 1 July 2019 this tax treatment only applied to individuals under 65 years old.

You need to be wary of Illegal super schemes people offer to help you gain access to your super savings before you reach your preservation age. Heavy penalties apply if you participate in these schemes.


Find out if the genuine redundancy and early retirement scheme payment changes affect your tax-free payment amount.