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  • Carry forward unused concessional contributions

    From 2019–20, carry forward rules allow you to make extra concessional contributions – above the general concessional contributions cap – without having to pay extra tax.

    The carry forward arrangements involve accessing unused concessional cap amounts from previous years. An unused cap amount occurs when the concessional contributions you made in a financial year were less than your general concessional contributions cap.

    Example: Carry forward concessional contributions (one year)

    Anna's concessional contribution cap for the 2019–20 year is $25,000. Concessional contributions during that year, including her employer's SG payments, were $15,000. Anna's total super balance for the previous financial year was $328,000.

    In January 2021, she receives a company bonus of $10,000 which, as part of a valid salary sacrifice agreement is paid into her super. Anna knows that she also will earn more in 2020–21 and that her employer contributions and her other salary sacrifice contributions will add up to $25,000 (the general concessional contributions cap).

    However, as Anna has $10,000 worth of unused concessional cap amounts from 2019–20 she will not exceed her cap for the 2020–21 year

    End of example

    To use your unused cap amounts you need to meet 2 conditions:

    • your total super balance at the end of 30 June of the previous financial year is less than $500,000
    • you made concessional contributions in the financial year that exceeded your general concessional contributions cap.

    The amount of unused cap amounts you can carry forward will depend on the amount you have contributed in previous years, starting from 2018–19. You can use caps from up to 5 previous financial years, including when you were not a member of a super fund.

    The oldest available unused cap amounts are used first. For example, unused cap amounts from 2018–19 would be applied to increase your cap first before unused cap amounts from 2019–20.

    Unused cap amounts are available for a maximum of 5 years and will expire after this. For example, a 2018–19 unused cap amount that is not used by the end of 2023–24 will expire.

    If, after applying all your available unused cap amounts, you still have excess concessional contributions, you may need to pay extra tax.

    Division 293 tax

    For Division 293 tax purposes, we count your concessional contributions but not your excess concessional contributions.

    If your concessional contributions cap has increased due to the use of unused cap amounts, and your combined income and concessional contributions are above the Division 293 threshold, you would have to pay, or pay a higher amount of, Division 293 tax.

    How to view your carry forward concessional contributions

    You can view and manage your concessional contributions and carry-forward concessional contributions using ATO online services through myGov.

    Log in to ATO online services, select Super, then navigate to Carry forward concessional contributions.

    Be aware that due to the reporting timeframes of funds, especially SMSFs, the latest information may not be available in ATO online services. You can contact your super fund for the most up to date information.

    More information:

    Example: Carry forward concessional contributions – Sam (multiple years)

    Sam's concessional contributions cap is $25,000 per year.

    Because Sam and his employer have been making smaller contributions each year (less than his $25,000 cap) he has accumulated unused caps he can access for up to 5 years.

    He was not able to make additional contributions until 2021–22 but there are rules that determine what he can contribute.

    Working out Sam's super contributions cap amounts

    Working out Sam's super contributions cap amounts
    Working out Sam's super contributions cap amounts

    Financial
    year

    Contributions from Sam and his employer

    TSB at end of previous financial year

    Unused concessional cap accumulation

    Sam's options

    2018–19

    $5,000 super guarantee (SG)

    $480,000 and growing

    $25,000
    − $5,000
    $20,000

    Sam has no money to contribute

    2019–20

    $3,000 SG

    $490,000 and growing

    $20,000
    + $22,000
    ($25,000
    − $3,000)
    $42,000

    Sam has no money to contribute

    2020–21

    $0

    $505,000

    $42,000
    + $25,000
    = $67,000

    Sam has money to contribute but can’t carry forward the unused cap amounts because his TSB is over $500,000

    2021–22

    $10,000 SG
    + $20,000 salary sacrifice
    + $15,000 personal contributions
    = $45,000

    $490,000
    Fund experiences negative earnings leading to a decline in Sam's TSB

    $67,000
    + $27,500
    $94,500

    Sam has money to contribute. Because his TSB at 30 June 2021 is now less than $500,000, he can use the unused cap amounts and contribute up to $94,500

     

    Example: Carry forward concessional contributions – Bailey (unused cap expiry)

    At the start of 2024–25, Bailey:

    • is planning on making extra concessional contributions to his super fund
    • knows that there is an annual general concessional contribution cap of $27,500
    • knows he can access unused cap amounts from up to 5 previous years.

    He uses ATO online services to check the amounts of his:

    • concessional contributions at the start of 2024–25
    • unused carry-forward concessional contribution caps.

    He also contacts his super fund to check he has the most up to date information.

    Now Bailey can work out how much he can contribute during 2024–25 without having to pay extra tax.

    Bailey can go ahead with his plan if at the end of the 2023–24 year his TSB is less than $500,000.

    Note: Unused concessional contributions cap for a year is equal to $25,000 minus concessional contributions made during that year.

    Bailey's concessional contributions cap amounts – 2018–19 to 2023–24

    Financial year

    Concessional contributions made during year

    General concessional contributions cap

    Unused concessional contributions cap for year

    Cumulative unused cap available to carry forward to next year

    Bailey's options

    2018–19

    $20,000

    $25,000

    $5,000

    $5,000

    Bailey has no money to contribute

    2019–20

    $15,000

    $25,000

    $10,000

    $15,000

    Bailey has no money to contribute

    2020–21

    $0

    $25,000

    $25,000

    $40,000

    Bailey is not working

    2021–22

    $10,000

    $27,500

    $17,500

    $57,500

    Bailey has no money to contribute

    2022–23

    $15,000

    $27,500

    $12,500

    $70,000

    Bailey has no money to contribute

    2023–24

    $24,000

    $27,500

    $3,500

    $68,500

    (This is made up of $65,000 cumulative unused cap from 2019–20 to 2022–23 and + $3,500 unused cap for 2022–23.

    The unused cap of $5,000 from 2018–19 cannot be used in 2024–25.)

    Bailey has no money to contribute in 2023–24.

    Bailey can contribute up to $96,000 in 2024–25 if his TSB is less than $500,000 at the end of 2023–24:

    $68,500 cumulative unused cap

    + $27,500 general cap for 2024–25

    Example: Carry forward concessional contributions – Sean (no prior super)

    At the start of 2021–22, Sean:

    • secures his first job
    • becomes a member of a super fund and his super fund starts receiving his first super guarantee (SG) contributions from his employer
    • is planning on making extra concessional contributions to his super fund
    • knows that there is an annual general concessional contribution cap of $27,500
    • knows he can access unused cap amounts from up to 5 previous years (starting from 2018–19)
    • knows he has a total super balance (TSB) less than $500,000 at the end of the 2020–-21 financial year (has a nil TSB).

    If Sean’s employer contributes $8,000 of SG in 2021–22, then Sean could contribute $94,500 extra concessional contributions (3 x $25,000 + $27,500 less $8,000) if he has sufficient assessable income.

    During the 2021–22 financial year, Sean arranges with his employer to make salary sacrifice contributions of $22,000. His total concessional contributions are $30,000 ($22,000 + $8,000) and he uses $2,500 of the cumulative unused cap amount ($30,000 contributions less $27,500 general cap = $2,500). Sean does not exceed his cap in this year.

    Sean's concessional contributions cap amounts – 2018–19 to 2021–22

    Financial year

    Concessional contributions made during year

    General concessional contributions cap

    Unused concessional contributions cap for year

    Cumulative unused cap available to carry forward to next year

    Sean's options

    2018–19

    $0

    $25,000

    $25,000

    $25,000

    Not working

    2019–20

    $0

    $25,000

    $25,000

    $50,000

    Not working

    2020–21

    $0

    $25,000

    $25,000

    $75,000

    Not working

    2021–22

    $30,000

    ($8,000 SG + $22,000 salary sacrifice)

    $27,500

    $0

    $72,500

    ($75,000 + $27,500 − $30,000)

    Can contribute up to $102,500:

    $75,000 cumulative unused cap

    + $27,500 general cap for 2021–22

    Sam makes salary sacrifice of $22,000.

    Example: Carry forward concessional contributions – Emma (maternity leave)

    At the start 2023–24, Emma:

    • returns to work following maternity leave of 12 months
    • is planning on making extra concessional contributions to her super fund
    • knows there is an annual general concessional contribution cap of $27,500
    • knows she can access unused cap amounts from up to 5 previous years (starting from 2018–19)
    • knows she has a total super balance (TSB) less than $500,000 at the end of 2022–23.

    If Emma’s employer contributes super guarantee (SG) of $10,000 in 2023–24, then Emma could contribute $112,500 extra concessional contributions ($122,500 less $10,000: see table below) if she has sufficient assessable income.

    During the 2023–24 financial year, Emma arranges with her employer to make salary sacrifice contributions of $30,000. Her total concessional contributions are $40,000 ($30,000 + $10,000) and she uses $12,500 of the cumulative unused cap amount ($40,000 contributions less $27,500 general cap = $12,500). Emma does not exceed the cap in this year.

    Emma's concessional contributions cap amounts – 2018–19 to 2023–24

    Financial year

    Concessional contributions made during year

    General concessional contributions cap

    Unused concessional contributions cap for year

    Cumulative unused cap available to carry forward to next year

    Emma's options

    2018–19

    $8,000

    $25,000

    $17,000

    $17,000

    Working, SG contributed by employer

    2019–20

    $8,500

    $25,000

    $16,500

    $33,500

    Working, SG contributed by employer

    2020–21

    $8,500

    $25,000

    $16,500

    $50,000

    Working, SG contributed by employer

    2021–22

    $10,000

    $27,500

    $17,500

    $67,500

    Working, SG contributed by employer

    2022–23

    $0

    $27,500

    $27,500

    $95,000

    On maternity leave, no SG contributed

    2023–24

    $40,000

    ($10,000 SG +$30,000 salary sacrifice)

    $27,500

    $0

    $78,000

    ($16,500 + $16,500 + $17,500 + $27,500 + $0)

    ($12,500 comes off the unused cap for 2018–19 and the remaining unused cap from that year cannot be carried forward to 2024–25.)

    Can contribute up to $122,500 ($95,000 cumulative unused cap + $27,500 general cap for 2023–24). Emma makes salary sacrifice of $30,000.

     

    End of example

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      Last modified: 12 May 2022QC 19749