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  • Acceptance of member contributions and work test

    Member contributions are made by you or on your behalf. They include:

    • personal contributions
    • spouse contributions
    • contributions by parents, other family or friends (not in the capacity of an employer)
    • government co-contributions.

    They exclude compulsory employer contributions, such as super guarantee.

    The types of member contributions your super fund can accept depends on:

    • your age – if you are 67 years or older when you make the contribution (65 years or older in 2019–20 and earlier income years) you may need to meet a work test or work test exemption. Your fund can also accept a contribution if they determine it relates to a period when you were eligible. For example, a government co-contribution can always be accepted because they relate to a period when member contributions could be made.
    • whether they have your TFN – super funds can't accept member contributions if they don't have your TFN. This includes contributions made by your spouse on your behalf.

    Your super fund may also have its own additional governing rules for acceptance of contributions.

    If your super fund cannot accept a contribution because of a restriction, they must return the amount to you or the entity who contributed it.

    An exception to the acceptance rules is the CGT small business concessions that involve a look-through earnout right.

    On this page:

    Aged under 67 years

    If you are under 67 years of age your fund can accept all types of contributions, except downsizer contributions (these can only be made if you are 65 years or older).

    Before 2020–21, the age limit was under 65 years old.

    Aged 67 to 69 years

    If you are aged 67 to 69 years your fund can accept:

    You will need to satisfy the work test or work test exemption in each financial year for your fund to be able accept these types of contributions:

    • voluntary employer contributions, such as salary sacrifice contributions
    • other amounts paid by your employer to your super fund, such as administration fees and insurance premiums
    • other member contributions made to your super fund, such as    
      • personal contributions
      • spouse contributions.
       

    For 2019–20 and earlier income years, this rule applied if you were aged 65 to 69 years.

    Aged 70 to 74 years

    If you are aged 70 to 74 years, your fund can accept compulsory employer contributions and downsizer contributions, regardless of your employment status.

    However, you will need to satisfy the work test or work test exemption in each financial year for your fund to accept these types of contributions:

    • voluntary employer contributions, such as salary sacrifice contributions
    • other amounts paid by your employer to your super fund, such as administration fees and insurance premiums
    • other member contributions made to your super fund, such as    
      • personal contributions
      • spouse contributions.
       

    These member contributions (other than downsizer contributions) must be received before or on the 28th day after the end of the month in which you have your 75th birthday.

    Before 1 July 2020, if you were 70 to 74 years old your fund could not accept personal contributions made by someone other than yourself, including spouse contributions.

    Aged 75 years or older

    When you are aged 75 years or older, your fund can always accept compulsory employer contributions and downsizer contributions.

    In the 28 days after you turn 75 years old, your fund can accept the following types of contributions if you satisfy the work test or work test exemption:

    • voluntary employer contributions, such as salary sacrifice contributions
    • other amounts paid by your employer to your super fund, such as administration fees and insurance premiums
    • other member contributions made to your super fund, such as    
      • personal contributions
      • spouse contributions.
       

    Work test

    To meet the work test, you must be gainfully employed for at least 40 hours during a consecutive 30-day period in the financial year in which the contributions are made.

    This is an annual test. This means once you meet this test you can make contributions for the entire financial year.

    Gainfully employed means employed or self-employed for gain or reward in any business, trade, profession, vocation, calling, occupation or employment.

    If, due to the impacts of COVID-19, you are stood down from your employment but are receiving the JobKeeper payment then it is accepted that you are gainfully employed and meet the work test.

    If you do unpaid work or only receive passive income, such as interest, dividends, trust distributions or rent, you do not meet the definition of gainfully employed.

    Next step:

    • If you’re not sure whether you meet the work test rules for contributions, check with your fund or ask our CommunityExternal Link for help.

    Work test exemption

    From 1 July 2019, if you no longer meet the work test your super fund can still accept voluntary contributions for an extra 12 months from the end of the financial year in which you last met the work test, provided you meet certain criteria. This is called the work test exemption.

    If you are in a defined benefit fund you cannot use the work test exemption. However, you can choose to open an accumulation account with another super fund to make voluntary contributions using the work test exemption.

    To meet the work test exemption criteria, you must meet three conditions:

    • You satisfied the work test in the financial year before the year in which you made the contribution.
    • Your total super balance is less than $300,000 at the end of the previous financial year.
    • You did not use the work test exemption in a previous financial year.

    Next step:

    • If you’re not sure whether you meet the work test exemption rules for contributions, check with your fund or ask our CommunityExternal Link for help.

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      Last modified: 27 Apr 2021QC 19749