There are 2 ways of contributing to your spouse's super:
- You may be able to split contributions you have already made to your own super, by rolling them over to your spouse's super – known as a contributions-splitting super benefit.
- You can make a super contribution directly to your spouse's super, treated as their non-concessional contribution, which may entitle you to a tax offset.
Some super funds allow you to split your contributions with your spouse.
When and how to apply
You can generally apply to split your contributions with your spouse after the end of the income year in which your contributions were made.
You apply to your fund to split your employer contributions and personal concessional contributions made during the previous income year, using the Superannuation contributions splitting application (NAT 15237) or similar form provided by your fund. The fund has the discretion to allow or not allow the request.
There are restrictions on the type and amount of contributions you can split.
If you're planning to split any part of your contributions with your spouse but you also want to claim a tax deduction for them, you must give your fund the notice of intent to claim a deduction before applying to split the contributions.
How split contributions are treated and reported
A contribution split with your spouse is called a 'contributions-splitting super benefit' and is treated as a rollover to your spouse, not a new contribution for them.
Accordingly, splitting your contributions with your spouse does not reduce the total contributions made for you or change their characteristics for the purposes of your contributions caps. For example, if you make a personal contribution and claim a tax deduction for it, that will count towards your concessional contributions cap for the year even if you then split and roll it over to your spouse. It will not count towards your spouse's cap.
For more information, see Contributions splitting for members.
You may be able to claim a tax offset of up to $540 per year if you make a super contribution on behalf of your spouse (married or de facto) if their income is below $40,000.
Contributions you make to your spouse's super are treated as their non-concessional contributions, whether or not you're eligible for the super tax offset.
General eligibility conditions
To be eligible:
- the contribution must be made to either a complying super fund or an approved retirement savings accountExternal Link (RSA)
- both you and your spouse must be Australian residents when the contribution is made
- the contribution is not deductible by you
- you and your spouse must not be living separately and apart on a permanent basis when making the contribution.
Specific eligibility conditions
You're eligible for a tax offset for a contribution made on behalf of your spouse if:
- their income is less than $40,000 in the income year in which the contribution is made, calculated as the sum of their:
- assessable income (disregarding any amount released to your spouse under the first home super saver scheme)
- total reportable fringe benefits amounts
- total reportable employer super contributions
- your spouse did not exceed their non-concessional contributions cap in the income year in which the contribution is made
- your spouse had a total super balance less than the general transfer balance cap immediately before the start of the income year in which the contribution is made
- for the 2020–21 and later income years, your spouse was under 75 years old when the contributions are made
- for income years before 2020–21, your spouse was under 70 years old when the contributions were made.
The tax offset amount reduces when your spouse's income is greater than $37,000 and completely phases out when your spouse’s income reaches $40,000. The tax offset is calculated as 18% of the lesser of:
- $3,000 minus the amount by which your spouse's income exceeds $37,000
- the sum of your spouse contributions in the income year.
The tax offset for eligible spouse contributions can't be claimed for super contributions that you made to your own fund, then split to your spouse. That is a rollover or transfer, not a contribution.
Example: eligibility for the tax offset for super contributions on behalf of your spouse
Robert and Judy are spouses. Robert earns $19,000 in 2018–19 and Judy makes a $3,500 contribution to Robert's super fund.
Robert and Judy meet the eligibility requirements to claim a tax offset. Judy can claim a tax offset in her 2018–19 tax return for the contributions she makes to Robert's super fund.
The tax offset is calculated as 18% of the lesser of:
- $3,000 minus the amount over $37,000 that Robert earned (in this case, nil)
- the value of the spouse contributions (in this case, $3,500).
Judy can claim a tax offset of $540, being 18% of $3,000.End of example
Example: eligibility for a part tax offset for super contributions on behalf of your spouse
Carmel and Adam are married and living together. Carmel is 46 years old and her income is $38,000 per year. Carmel has not exceeded her non-concessional contributions cap for the income year, and her total super balance is under $1.6 million.
Adam wishes to make a super contribution of $3,000, on Carmel’s behalf, to her complying super fund.
Carmel’s income is under the threshold. Adam is eligible for a tax offset. As Carmel earns more than $37,000 per year, Adam will not receive the maximum tax offset of $540. Instead, his entitlement is 18% of the lesser of:
- $3,000 reduced by every dollar over $37,000 that Carmel earns
- the value of spouse contributions.
Carmel earns $1,000 over the $37,000 income threshold. Adam’s tax offset is $360. This is calculated as 18% of $2,000 ($3,000 reduced by the $1,000 that Carmel earned over the $37,000 income threshold).End of example
Claiming the offset
You claim the offset in your tax return (see T3 Superannuation contributions on behalf of your spouse 2022).How to split your own contributions with your spouse or claim a tax offset for making a contribution on their behalf.