You can boost your super by adding your own personal contributions, which are the amounts you contribute directly to your super fund.
If you claim a tax deduction for them, they're concessional contributions and are effectively from your pre-tax income. They are taxed in the fund at a rate of 15%.
If you don't claim a tax deduction for them, they're non-concessional contributions and are from your after-tax income or savings. They are not further taxed.
- 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.
Personal contributions are subject to the contributions caps that apply to concessional and non-concessional contributions.
To claim a deduction for your personal super contributions, you must give your super fund a notice in the approved form and get an acknowledgement from the fund. There are other eligibility criteria you must meet.
The personal super contributions you claim as a deduction will count towards your concessional contributions cap.
When deciding whether to claim a deduction for super contributions, you should consider the possible impacts, including whether:
- you will exceed your concessional (before-tax) contributions cap, which limits the amount that can be contributed to your super fund that is taxed at the concessional rate of 15%
- you will have to pay Division 293 tax, which applies when your combined income and concessional super contributions for Division 293 purposes is more than $250,000
- you wish to split your contributions with your spouse
- it will affect your super co-contribution eligibility.
If you exceed your cap, you will have to pay extra tax, and any excess concessional contributions you leave in super will count towards your non-concessional contributions cap.
Deductible personal contributions count towards your reportable super contributions.
Example: effects of claiming a deduction for a personal super contribution
During 2019–20 Christie is employed as a hairdresser and earns $35,000 in assessable income.
Christie contributes $5,000 to her super fund as a personal contribution. If she wanted to claim an income tax deduction for the entire super contribution, she would need to give her fund a notice of intent and get an acknowledgment.
Having done this, Christie could claim a tax deduction of $5,000, reducing her taxable income to $30,000. However, her fund would pay 15% tax on the $5,000, so only $4,250 would be credited to Christie's super fund account. Additionally, Christie would be eligible for the low income superannuation tax offset, so the government would refund her offset into her super account. However, she would not be eligible for a super co-contribution.
If Christie decided to claim a personal income tax deduction for $4,000 instead of the entire $5,000, this would mean:
- her taxable income would be $31,000
- her fund would have to pay 15% tax on the $4,000, so $3,400 would be credited to her account
- she may be eligible for the super co-contribution in respect of the $1,000 that was not claimed as a deduction, in which case the government would pay her co-contribution entitlement ($500) into her super account
- she would be eligible for the low income superannuation tax offset, so the government would refund her offset into her super account.
Contributions you can claim
You're eligible to claim a deduction for personal super contributions if:
- you made the contributions to your fund that was not a
- Commonwealth public sector super scheme in which you have a defined benefit interest
- constitutionally protected fund (CPF) or other untaxed fund that would not include your contribution in its assessable income
- super fund that notified us before the start of the income year that they elected to either treat all member contributions to the
- super fund as non-deductible
- defined benefit interest within the fund as non-deductible
- you meet the age restrictions
- you have given your fund a notice of intent to claim in the approved form
- your fund has validated your notice of intent form and sent you an acknowledgment.
Contributions you can’t claim a deduction for
You can't claim deductions for:
- contributions paid by your employer from your before-tax income such as
- the compulsory super guarantee
- salary sacrifice super contributions
- other reportable employer super contributions
- a rolled over super benefit
- a benefit transferred from a foreign super fund
- first home super saver (FHSS) amounts you have recontributed to your super fund(s)
- contributions to
- a Commonwealth public sector super scheme in which you have a defined benefit interest
- a super fund that would not include the contribution in their assessable income, such as an untaxed fund or a constitutionally protected fund
- other super funds or contributions specified in the regulations
- downsizer contributions
- re-contribution of COVID-19 early release of superannuation amounts.
Work and age restrictions
If you're under 18 years old at the end of the income year in which you made the contribution, you can only claim a deduction for your personal super contributions if you also earned income as an employee or business operator during the year.
If you're between 67 and 74 years old:
- For the 2020–21 and later years, you must meet the work test (or exemption) to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions and have them treated as concessional contributions.
- From 1 July 2022, you can make or receive non-concessional personal and salary sacrifice contributions without meeting the work test (or exemption), but you must still meet the work test (or exemption) to claim a deduction for personal superannuation contributions so they are treated as concessional contributions.
If you are 75 years old or older, you can only claim a deduction for contributions you made before the 28th day of the month following the month in which you turned 75.
This table shows how this change may impact you.
Before 1 July 2022
From 1 July 2022
You need to meet the work test to make or receive a personal super contribution
You can access the bring forward non-concessional contributions rule
You must meet the work test to claim a personal super contribution deduction.
You must lodge a notice of intent to claim a deduction in the approved form with your super fund when you intend to claim a deduction
You must receive an acknowledgement from the fund for the notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal contributions.
You claim the personal super contribution deduction in your tax return at Personal super contributions in:
You can lodge a notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal contributions form.
Time limits apply and you must give your fund a notice (or variation) by whichever of the following dates occurs first:
Note that the above deadlines don't apply if we have disallowed your deduction and a variation is being made to reduce the amount claimed by the amount not allowable.
A variation is not effective if:
Note that if your variation is not valid the contributions tax cannot be adjusted.
To satisfy the work test, you must work at least 40 hours during a consecutive 30-day period each income year.
However, if you don't meet the above condition, you can use the exemption to the work test on a one-off basis if you have:
- satisfied the work test in the income year preceding the year in which you made the contribution
- a total super balance of less than $300,000 at the end of the previous income year
- not relied on the work test exemption in a previous financial year.
For more information on work and age restrictions (including the work test and the work test exemption), see Restrictions on voluntary contributions.
Example: work test to claim a deduction for personal super contributions
In 2021–22, Kumiko turned 66 years old. She did not need to satisfy the work test or meet the work test exemption criteria to be able to claim a deduction for personal super contributions. However, she still had to give her fund a notice of intent and receive an acknowledgement from the fund.
In 2022–23 Kumiko turned 67 years old. She did not need to satisfy the work test or work test exemption to be able to contribute to her super fund before she turned 67 years old. However, if Kumiko makes the contribution after she turns 67, she must satisfy the work test or meet the work test exemption criteria to be able to claim a deduction for personal super contributions. She must also continue to provide her fund with a notice of intent and get an acknowledgement from the fund.End of example
How to claim a deduction
If you are eligible and want to claim a tax deduction for your personal super contributions, you must first notify your fund that you intend to do so.
Notice of intent to your fund
You must give a valid notice in the approved form to your fund. A notice of intent is only valid if:
- you are still a member of your fund
- your fund still holds the contribution (special rules apply for full or partial voluntary rollovers, and situations where there has been a successor fund transfer or a MySuper transfer)
- it does not include all or part of an amount covered by a previous notice
- your fund has not started paying a super income stream using any of the contribution
- you haven’t lodged an application to split the contribution for which you intend to claim a deduction (even if the application hasn’t been dealt with by your fund)
- the contributions in the notice of intent have not been released from the fund you've given notice to under the FHSS scheme
- the contributions in the notice of intent don't include FHSS amounts you recontributed to your fund.
If you give your fund a notice of intent after you have rolled over your entire super interest to another fund (closed your account) or withdrawn your entire super interest (paid it out of super as a lump sum), the notice won't be valid. This means you will not be able to claim a deduction for the personal contributions you made before the rollover or withdrawal.
If you have partially rolled over or withdrawn your super interest (which included the contribution you made), your notice will not be valid for the entire contribution. You can only validly deduct the proportion of your contribution that remains in the fund.
You can provide a single notice of intent that covers all the personal (after tax) contributions you made to your super fund during the year. You don’t need to provide a notice of intent for each contribution.
You must provide a notice of intent to each super fund if you made contributions to more than one fund.
You can provide your notice of intent in the approved form by either:
- completing a Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions (NAT 71121)
- using your fund's own form
- writing to your fund, stating you wish to claim a tax deduction for your personal super contributions and including all the information required in the ATO form.
When to give your notice of intent
You must give a notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction to your fund by the earlier of either the:
- day you lodge your tax return for the year in which you made the contributions
- end of the income year following the one in which you made the contributions.
Your fund must send you a written acknowledgment, telling you they have received a valid notice from you. You must receive the acknowledgment from your fund before you claim the deduction on your tax return.
How to complete your tax return
When you complete your tax return, you can claim a deduction for the amount of the contribution stated on your notice of intent. If you want to claim an amount that is different (more or less) than what the notice says, you can vary your notice of intent.
Make sure that you claim your deduction at the correct label in your tax return. If you're lodging:
- through myTax the deduction must be claimed at Personal super contributions
- a paper form, the deduction must be claimed at Personal superannuation contributions in the Individual tax return supplement.
Failing to claim your super deductions at the correct label may result in:
- an incorrect super co-contribution determination or excess contributions tax assessment
- an additional tax liability
- a tax shortfall penalty.
You can vary your notice of intent to claim a deduction, but only to reduce the amount stated in the notice. You can reduce the amount, including to nil, but you can't revoke or withdraw the notice.
If you want to increase the amount you intend to claim as a deduction, you do not give your fund a variation notice. Instead, you give a second notice specifying the additional amount you wish to claim. This second notice is subject to the due date for lodging.
To vary your notice of intent to claim a deduction, complete a Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions (NAT 71121) and give it to your fund.
Alternatively, you can use your fund's own form, or write to your fund, including:
- the information in your original notice of intent
- a statement that you wish to vary your previous notice of intent to reduce the amount of personal contributions for which a tax deduction will be claimed
- the amount you now intend to claim (which may be nil).
Required date for varying your notice of intent
You can vary a notice of intent up until the due date for lodging a claim for a deduction.
However, if the deduction you claimed is not allowable, in whole or in part, you can vary your notice after the required date to reduce the amount stated in the notice by the amount not allowable.
You can't vary your notice of intent if:
- you are no longer a member of the fund or the holder of a retirement savings account
- the trustee
- no longer holds the contribution
- has begun to pay a super income stream based wholly or in part on the contribution.
Your fund will send you written acknowledgment after receiving your valid notice of intent to vary your deduction for personal super contributions.How to make personal super contributions, including claiming a tax deduction so they are concessional contributions.