Changes are being made to the First home super saver (FHSS) scheme and will start on 20 September 2024.
Learn more about the changes to the FHSS scheme.
The FHSS scheme allows you to save money for your first home in your super fund.
The scheme allows you to make voluntary contributions (both before-tax concessional and after-tax non-concessional) into your super fund to save for your first home. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can have these voluntary contributions released, up to a limit, (along with associated earnings) to help you purchase your first home.
You can apply to have a maximum of $15,000 of your voluntary contributions from any one financial year included in your eligible contributions to be released under the FHSS scheme, up to a total of $50,000 contributions across all years. (If you requested a release before 1 July 2022, when the total limit across all years was $30,000, you can't make any further requests to take you up to the current $50,000 limit.)
You will also receive associated earnings, which is a deemed amount of earnings calculated based on the shortfall interest charge (SIC) rate – this is not the actual earnings on those contributions in your fund.
Contributions released under the FHSS scheme can be used to buy a new or existing home in Australia.
Important things to know
There are a number of important things you need to know if you plan to use the FHSS scheme:
- Superannuation guarantee contributions made by your employer, and spouse contributions can't be released under the FHSS scheme.
- You must apply for and receive a FHSS determination from us before signing a contract for your first home or applying for release of your FHSS amounts.
- Make sure you correctly enter each of your eligible contributions for all years into the FHSS determination form. Do not total the contributions.
- If there is an error in your FHSS determination you can correct this by requesting another determination, provided you haven't signed a contract or requested a release.
- If there is incorrect information in your FHSS determination and you later request a release based on that incorrect information, your request may be delayed. Your release may also be cancelled and this may affect your eligibility for the scheme.
- Limits apply to the eligible contributions that count towards your maximum releasable amount.
- You can apply to have a maximum of $15,000 of your voluntary contributions from any one financial year included in your eligible contributions to be released under the FHSS scheme, up to a total of $50,000 contributions across all years. You will also receive a deemed amount of associated earnings that relate to those contributions – this is not the actual investment earnings on those contributions.
- You can only request a release under the FHSS scheme once.
- After you make your release request, it may take between 15 and 20 business days for you to receive your money. You should consider this timing when you start your home buying activities.
- You must make your release request within 14 days of signing a property contract. However, you must have a FHSS determination before you sign any property contract.
- The home you purchase or construct must be located in Australia.
- You can sign your contract to purchase your property after you make a valid release request.
- If you have an outstanding debt with the ATO or another Commonwealth agency, your FHSS release amount may be offset against this debt. Payment of your FHSS amount could be delayed or reduced (including to nil) or both if you have an outstanding Commonwealth debt.
- You have 12 months from the date you make a valid release request to notify us if you have signed a contract to purchase or construct your home or recontribute the required amount to your super fund.
To use this scheme, you must satisfy all of the following conditions:
- You're 18 years old or older when requesting a FHSS determination or a release of money under the FHSS scheme. However, you can make eligible contributions before you are 18 years of age.
- You're a first home buyer, having never owned property in Australia – this includes an investment property, vacant land, commercial property, a lease of land in Australia, or a company title interest in land in Australia (unless we determine you have suffered a financial hardship).
- You intend to occupy the property you buy as soon as practicable and for at least 6 months within the first 12 months you own it after it's practical to move in.
- You have not previously made a FHSS release request.
You don't need to be an Australian citizen or Australian resident for tax purposes to use the FHSS scheme.
Eligibility is assessed on an individual basis. This means that couples, siblings or friends can each access their own eligible FHSS contributions to purchase the same property. If any of you have previously owned a home, it will not stop anyone else who is eligible from applying.
You may still be eligible, even if you have previously owned property in Australia, if we determine you have suffered a financial hardship that resulted in a loss of ownership of all property interests.
The events that could result in the loss of property interests include:
- divorce, separation from a de-facto partner, or a relationship breakdown
- loss of employment
- being affected by a natural disaster.
This hardship process is only for those who wish to use the FHSS scheme. See When you can access your super early for information on how to apply for early access if you're experiencing severe financial hardship unrelated to saving for your first home.
If you want to be considered under the FHSS financial hardship provision you can apply by either:
- logging into ATO online services through myGovExternal Link
- select Super, then Manage, then First home saver
- answer the first 3 questions in the FHSS determination, click the link to submit a hardship application form
- completing a First home super saver scheme – hardship application form.
You should apply to us for a hardship determination before you start saving, so you know if the hardship provision applies to you.
You must provide evidence with your application that demonstrates the link between the loss of your property and your hardship event.
If we accept you have suffered a financial hardship, you must also meet the following conditions at the time you lodge your FHSS determination form:
- you have not acquired a subsequent interest in real property in Australia since you lost the property as a result of financial hardship
- you are 18 years old or older
- you have not previously made a FHSS release request under the FHSS scheme.
You can start saving under the FHSS scheme by:
- entering into a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer to make voluntary concessional contributions (note that not all employers offer salary sacrifice arrangements to their employees)
- making voluntary personal super contributions, which will be concessional if you claim an income tax deduction for them.
You can contribute into any super funds except for defined benefit interest or constitutionally protected funds, contributions to which are not eligible for release under the FHSS scheme.
Before you start saving you should:
- check that your nominated super fund(s) will release the money
- ask your fund about any fees, charges and insurance implications that may apply
- check that your super fund has your current contact details – ensuring your name and address in the super fund's records exactly match the details we have for you in our records
- be aware that if you receive FHSS amounts it will affect your tax for the year in which you make the request to release – you will receive a payment summary and you will need to include both the assessable and tax-withheld amounts in your tax return.
There is no need for you to notify your employer, super fund or the ATO before making contributions for FHSS purposes. Contributions you make for FHSS purposes are not accounted for separately in your super account(s), and you're not required to use them for the FHSS scheme. If you end up not accessing them under the FHSS scheme, they remain part of your super interest.
If you want to be considered under the financial hardship provision, you should ask us to determine if the financial hardship provision applies to you before you start saving.
You can make the following types of contributions under the FHSS scheme:
- voluntary concessional contributions – including salary sacrifice amounts or contributions you have claimed or intend to claim a tax deduction for (usually taxed at 15% in your fund)
- voluntary non-concessional contributions – including personal after-tax contributions (where you haven't claimed a tax deduction).
Only contributions made from 1 July 2017 are eligible for release under the FHSS scheme.
You can contribute up to your existing super contribution caps. Releases under the FHSS scheme don't affect the calculation of your concessional or non-concessional contributions for contributions cap purposes. Your contributions still count towards your contribution caps for the year they were originally made.
You can apply for release of up to $15,000 of your voluntary contributions from any one financial year, up to a total of $50,000 contributions across all years. You must include eligible contributions for all years in the same determination application.
Certain KiwiSaver and other transfer amounts from foreign super funds are eligible contributions for calculating your FHSS maximum release amounts. For more information, see GN 2018/1Opens in a new window First home super saver scheme.
An eligible KiwiSaver amount must be included in your FHSS determination request as a personal voluntary (after tax) contribution, with the date it was credited to your Australian super fund account. You can't split this contribution over different financial years.
You can check your eligible contributions with your super fund(s) at any time to see how much you have saved. This will help you keep track of the maximum FHSS amounts you can have released.
How your contributions are ordered
When you make voluntary contributions into super, the order and type of the contributions can make a difference to the amount released under the FHSS scheme.
To calculate your FHSS maximum release amount, we apply ordering rules when you apply for a FHSS determination. You don't have to do the calculations yourself.
Your contributions are counted towards your release amounts as follows:
- A first-in first-out rule applies – this means that contributions you make in an earlier financial year are counted before contributions in a later financial year. Contributions you make within a financial year are counted in the order you make them.
- A simultaneous contributions rule applies – this means that if you make an eligible concessional contribution and an eligible non-concessional contribution at the same time (for example, in the same payroll process), your non-concessional contributions are taken to be made first.
If you make your contributions within a financial year and you claim a deduction for some or all of the contributions, your eligible non-concessional contributions (if any) are taken to be made before any eligible concessional contribution.
The following contributions are not eligible and must not be included in your FHSS determination:
- super guarantee (SG) contributions made by your employer
- mandated employer or member contributions made for you under an award or industrial agreement
- member contributions made for you by your spouse, parent or other friends or family
- amounts you receive under a contributions-splitting arrangement
- government co-contributions
- contributions under a structured settlement or personal injury order
- amounts contributed to super as part of the small business CGT concessions
- amounts transferred from a KiwiSaver scheme that are Australian-sourced amounts or returning New Zealand-sourced amounts
- applicable fund earnings from a foreign fund transfer you elect to include in the receiving fund's assessable income
- contributions to defined benefit interest or constitutionally protected funds, or contributions that are mandatory under a state or territory law or the rules of a fund
- excess concessional or non-concessional contributions, which are not eligible even if they otherwise would have been
- COVID-19 early release of superannuation re-contributions.
If there are any of these amounts in your request for a FHSS determination, your request may be delayed or cancelled.
You must have a FHSS determination before you sign a contract that results in you obtaining an interest in a property, including a contract to purchase vacant land.
Except in limited circumstances, once you sign a contract to purchase any property you're no longer eligible to request a FHSS determination. For more information see GN 2018/1Opens in a new window First home super saver scheme.
You can sign your contract to purchase or construct your home before or after you make a valid request to release your FHSS amounts but you must sign a contract within 12 months.
If you sign your contract to purchase or construct your home before the date on which you make a valid request to release FHSS amounts, you'll need to:
- have a FHSS determination before you sign
- make a valid release request within 14 days of entering the contract.
If you have signed your contract more than 14 days before you request the release of your FHSS amounts, you'll be subject to FHSS tax.
For information on what is a valid contract under the FHSS scheme and how long you have to sign it, see Signing a contract for a home and notifying us.
The FHSS maximum release amount is the sum of your eligible contributions, taking into account the yearly and total limits, and associated earnings. This amount includes:
- 100% of your eligible personal voluntary super contributions you have not claimed a tax deduction for (non-concessional contributions)
- 85% of your eligible salary sacrifice contributions (concessional contributions)
- 85% of eligible personal voluntary super contributions you've claimed a tax deduction for (concessional contributions)
- an amount of deemed earnings associated with the above contributions.
The FHSS maximum release amount takes into account the $15,000 limit from any one year and the $50,000 total limit to the total contributions across all years, before adding the associated earnings.
To withdraw your voluntary super contributions under the FHSS scheme, you need to request a FHSS determination from us:
- sign in to myGovExternal Link
- select Australian Taxation Office
- select Super, then Manage, then First home saver.
If you don't have a myGov account, create one and link it to the ATO.
When you apply for a FHSS determination, we'll tell you your maximum FHSS release amount.
- only include eligible contributions in your request for a FHSS determination
- use the date the contribution was received by your super fund.
Most contributions will be pre-filled in the online FHSS determination request from information reported to us by your super fund, but you need to check the details are correct before submitting it.
If you're adding details of contributions that have not been pre-filled, use your super fund statement or transaction list to confirm the dates, amounts and type of each contribution. In determining the year in which a contribution has been made, the date on which the contribution was received by your super fund is relevant, not the date you or your employer paid it.
You must not use your payslips to complete your request for a FHSS determination as this does not provide the date your contributions were credited to your super account.
We will check that the contributions in your request for a FHSS determination match contribution details reported to us by your super fund. You may be required to provide evidence of your contributions before we release your FHSS amounts.
You'll also need to include the year and amount of any super tax deductions you have or intend to claim in your tax returns.
Your FHSS request may be delayed or cancelled if you provide incorrect information, and you may not be able to apply under the FHSS scheme in the future.
You can request a determination on more than one occasion but can only request a release once.
Note that once you sign a contract resulting in you obtaining an interest in property, including vacant land, you are not eligible to request a FHSS determination.
Once you have a FHSS determination you can then request a release of your amount when you're ready to purchase your home. Be aware that you:
- can only apply for a release once
- must confirm as part of your release application that you will not claim further tax deductions on the non-concessional contributions included in the determination.
Before you request a release of your savings, you should:
- check that you've made all of the voluntary FHSS contributions you want to make
- ensure that the information you have provided in your request for a FHSS determination is correct – otherwise your release may be delayed or cancelled, and you may not be able to apply for a release under the FHSS scheme in the future
- resolve any issues with your FHSS determination before you request a release
- agree with the amounts shown in your FHSS determination – for example, if you did not include all of your eligible contributions you can request a new determination, but only if you have not signed a contract to purchase property
- object to the FHSS determination if you believe it is incorrect due to our error.
You can request a release of the FHSS maximum release amount stated in your FHSS determination or choose a lower amount. To apply:
- sign in to myGovExternal Link
- select Australian Taxation Office
- select Super, then Manage, then First home saver.
Once you have requested a release you can't request another one, even if you have requested an amount less than your FHSS maximum release amount.
After you have made a valid release request, we'll issue a release authority to your super fund(s) requesting they send your FHSS release amounts to us.
Before we send a released amount to you, we will:
- withhold the appropriate amount of tax
- offset the remaining amount against any outstanding debts with the ATO or another Commonwealth Government agency.
In most cases, it will take between 15 and 20 business days for your fund to release your money and for us to pay it to you.
A payment summary will be sent to you at the end of the financial year. It will show your assessable FHSS released amount, which is comprised of:
- concessional contributions
- associated earnings on both concessional and non-concessional contributions.
You need to include the amount stated in your payment summary, in your tax return for the financial year you request the release. Your payment summary will also show details of any tax withheld, which also needs to be included in your tax return. The tax payable on this assessable amount will receive a 30% tax offset.
When we receive your released amounts, we will withhold tax based on either:
- your expected marginal tax rate, including Medicare levy, less a 30% tax offset
- 17% if we're unable to estimate your expected marginal rate.
The tax withheld is calculated on your assessable FHSS released amounts and will help you meet your end of year tax liabilities.
When you lodge your tax return, we will know your actual marginal tax rate for the year in which you requested the release and will recalculate your tax liability on the released amount. We will take into account the tax that has already been withheld from your assessable FHSS released amount, together with the 30% tax offset.
Your payment summary will show the amount of tax withheld.
You must include the assessable FHSS released amount shown on your payment summary as assessable income in your tax return for the year you request the release. You will also need to include the tax withheld amount so you pay the correct amount of tax.
For example, if you request a release of FHSS amounts on 30 June 2023, include the amount in your 2022–23 tax return – even though you won’t receive the released amount until July 2023.
We will only issue your payment summary once all your FHSS amounts have been paid to you. This could be several weeks after the end of the financial year.
Family tax benefit and child support
Your assessable FHSS released amount is not included in your assessable income for calculating family assistance and child support payments. These amounts were included in prior years, so this will prevent double counting.
Study and training support loans
If you make salary sacrifice contributions into super, they will be a reportable employer super contribution in that income year. As such, these contributions continue to be included in your repayment income for study and training support loans.
You will need to review your pay as you go (PAYG) withholding arrangements with your employer, so the tax they withhold from your salary and wages during the year is enough to cover the amount you're liable to pay.
When you withdraw contributions under the FHSS scheme they are not part of your repayment income in the year you request the withdrawal.
Study and training support loans include:
- Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
- Student Start-up Loan (SSL) and ABSTUDY SSL schemes
- Trade Support Loans (TSL) program
- Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS).
State government concessions
The FHSS scheme is separate to other concessions offered by state governments.
If you want to access state government concessions as a first home buyer, you will need to check with the relevant state government authority to confirm you meet the eligibility criteria for each concession.
You have up to 12 months (or other period we allow) from the date you requested the release of FHSS amounts to sign a contract to purchase or construct a home. (You can sign a contract before you request release of FHSS amounts subject to certain restrictions.)
The contract you enter into has to be for a residential property in Australia. It can't be for:
- any premises not capable of being occupied as a residence
- a houseboat
- a motor home
- vacant land – but the contract can be for construction of a home on vacant land, provided you have not purchased the vacant land before applying for a FHSS determination. The contract to construct the home must be entered into within 12 months (or other period allowed) from the date you requested a release.
Your name must be on the title of the property you buy.
You must genuinely intend to occupy the property as a home, and demonstrate this by:
- occupying or intending to occupy the property as soon as practicable after purchase
- occupying or intending to occupy the property for at least 6 of the first 12 months from when it is practicable to occupy it.
If you don't sign a contract to purchase or construct a home within 12 months of the date you requested a release, we may grant you an extension of time to do so for a further 12 months. There is no need to apply for this extension – we will generally grant it unless we have reason to believe that doing so would be inappropriate. We will notify you if an extension is granted.
At the end of the 12 month extension, if you have still not signed a contract to purchase or construct a home, you can choose to either:
- recontribute an amount into your super fund(s). This amount must be a non-concessional contribution and be at least equal to your assessable FHSS released amount, less any tax withheld. This amount is stated in your payment summary and may be less than the total amounts released to you.
- keep the released amount and be subject to FHSS tax, a flat tax equal to 20% of your assessable FHSS released amount.
If you sign a contract to purchase or construct your home, you must notify us within 28 days of signing the contract.
If you recontribute the assessable FHSS amount (less tax withheld) into your super fund, you must notify us within 12 months of the date you request the release of your FHSS money.
If you don't notify us that you have done one of the above or you choose to keep the FHSS amount, you may be subject to FHSS tax.
You can notify us by:
- logging into ATO online services through myGovExternal Link
- select the Super, then Manage, then select First home saver.
For technical information on the FHSS scheme, see GN 2018/1Opens in a new window First home super saver scheme.