If you're a low or middle-income earner and make personal non-concessional (after-tax) contributions to your super fund, the government may also make a co-contribution up to a maximum of $500.
The government co-contribution you receive depends on your income and how much you contribute.
You don't need to apply for the super co-contribution. When you lodge your tax return, we will work out if you're eligible. If your super fund has your tax file number (TFN), we will pay it to your super account automatically.
The preservation rules applying to your current super entitlements also apply to the co-contribution.
To be eligible for the super co-contribution you must:
- have made one or more personal non-concessional super contributions to your complying super fund during the financial year
- pass the two income tests (income threshold and 10% eligible income tests)
- be less than 71 years old at the end of the financial year
- not hold a temporary visa at any time during the financial year (unless you're a New Zealand citizen or it was a prescribed visa under subsection 20AA(2)External Link of the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999
- have lodged your tax return for the relevant financial year
- have a total superannuation balance less than the general transfer balance cap at the end of 30 June of the previous financial year
- not have contributed more than your non-concessional contributions cap.
To receive the co-contribution, your total income must be less than the higher income threshold for that financial year.
Your total income
For the purpose of this test, your total income for the financial year is:
- the total of your
- assessable income
- reportable fringe benefits total
- reportable employer super contributions reduced (but not below zero) by any excess concessional contributions
- minus your
- assessable first home super saver released amount (if any)
- allowable business deductions (relevant to businesses only).
If your total income is equal to or less than the lower threshold and you make personal non-concessional contributions of $1,000 to your super account, you will receive the maximum co-contribution of $500.
You won't receive any co-contribution if your income is equal to or greater than the higher threshold.
If your total income is between the two thresholds, your maximum entitlement will reduce progressively as your income rises. If your co-contribution is less than $20, we will pay the minimum amount of $20.
To satisfy this test, 10% or more of your total income must come from either or a combination of:
- employment-related activities
- carrying on a business.
These are eligible income amounts.
For this test, your total income is not reduced by your allowable business deductions. This is to ensure self-employed individuals are not disadvantaged if they have low income or low profit margins in a financial year.
Examples of eligible income
Generally, income that is related to employment or business is eligible income – for example:
- salary and wages
- business income earned as a sole trader or in a partnership
- director fees.
The following types of income are not eligible income for super co-contribution purposes:
- non-business partnership distributions
- distributions from a trust
- income from individually or jointly held assets, such as interest, rent and dividends
- income related to another year of employment, such as employment termination payments and lump sum payments.
Personal non-concessional super contributions are the amounts you contribute to your super fund from your after-tax income (that is, from your take-home pay). These contributions:
- are in addition to any compulsory super contributions your employer makes on your behalf
- do not include super contributions made through a salary-sacrifice arrangement or personal contributions that have been claimed as an income tax deduction (concessional contributions).
You don't need to make your personal contributions as a single lump sum – you can make payments throughout the financial year. We use the total amount you have contributed for the year to calculate the co-contribution.
Your super fund can tell you how to make personal contributions, and it will need your TFN before it can accept them.
In some cases, you can make regular super contributions into your super account directly from your after-tax pay.
Your personal contributions must reach your super fund by 30 June for you to receive a government co-contribution for that financial year.
Estimating your super co-contribution
The minimum co-contribution payment is $20 and the maximum is $500. Payment amounts are rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5 cents.
You can use our super co-contribution calculator to estimate your co-contribution entitlement and eligibility.
Example: eligible for maximum co-contribution
In the current financial year, Angelo will earn $35,000. He pays $40 per fortnight from his take-home pay into his super account. This will total $1,040 for the financial year. He meets all other co-contribution eligibility requirements.
With this payment plan, Angelo will be eligible for the maximum co-contribution of $500.
We will pay this amount into Angelo's super account.End of example
When you lodge your tax return, we determine the co-contribution amount you are entitled to and pay it to your super fund.
In most cases, we pay your co-contribution directly to the super fund to which you made your personal super contributions.
Co-contributions can be paid directly to:
- you, if you have retired (either by reaching preservation age or due to permanent incapacity or invalidity) and no longer have an eligible super account
- the legal representative of a deceased account holder.
If you're eligible for a direct payment of the co-contribution, you can either:
- use myGovExternal Link to lodge the request online
- complete an Application for payment of ATO-held superannuation money (NAT 74880).
If you have made a direct claim but have not yet received your super co-contribution and are suffering hardship as a result of the delay, phone us on 13 10 20 to discuss your circumstances.
Government super contribution labels in your tax return
To calculate your super co-contribution, we use your tax return, including the Government super contributions labels, to work out your total income and eligible income.
It's not compulsory to complete the Government super contribution labels, but if they are not completed you may not receive your correct co-contribution payment.
If you don't earn any income from partnerships, trusts or a shared income group, you won't need to complete the additional labels or associated worksheets.
If you have more than one super fund
If you have more than one fund and you want your co-contribution paid to a particular fund you will need to phone us.
It is important to nominate the fund before you lodge your tax return. This will ensure the super co-contribution is paid to the fund of your choice.
When choosing a super fund, it is a good idea to check whether it accepts both personal and super co-contributions, so you can boost your super savings in the future.
When we pay the co-contribution
We make most super co-contribution payments between November and January each year for personal contributions made in the previous financial year.
When your fund receives the co-contribution, it will appear on your next fund member statement. If the payment is not shown on your next fund member statement or is different to the amount you expected, phone us on 13 10 20.
If your fund cannot accept your co-contribution payment, the fund must return it to us. This could happen if the fund does not have your TFN or the fund's trust deed states it can't accept co-contributions.
If this happens, we may contact you to ask for the details of an alternative fund to send the contribution to.
If you haven't received your payment
If you think you're entitled to receive a co-contribution payment but it has not been made, check that you've met all of the eligibility criteria.
If you still think you were eligible for a co-contribution, you can:
- phone us on 13 10 20 to ask why your co-contribution has not been paid
- request an explanation or a review of the decision by writing to us at
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 3100
PENRITH NSW 2740
Interest on delayed payments
If we're unable to make your co-contribution payment within 60 days of receiving all the required information, we will add interest to it to compensate you for the delay.
Interest is calculated daily using the ‘base interest rate’ for the day. It is applied from the day the co-contribution was due to be made (60 days from us receiving all of the required information) to the date it is paid.
Super co-contribution and tax
The super co-contribution is:
- not subject to tax when it is paid to your super fund
- not included as income in your tax return
- preserved in a super fund and can only be accessed when other preserved amounts can be accessed – that is, when a condition of release has been met.
Earnings on the super co-contribution will be taxed like any other earnings of the super fund.How the super co-contribution scheme helps low or middle-income earners boost their retirement savings.