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Any rates and information listed are current at the date of writing (June 2023) and may change.

Superannuation ('super') is money set aside to provide for your retirement.

For most people, super begins when you start work and your employer starts paying ('contributing') a portion of your salary or wages into a super fund for you. Usually, super money is not accessible before a certain age (called a Preservation Age).

Super funds invest your super in many things, such as shares and property, with the aim of growing it so you have more when you retire.

Super Contributions

The Age Pension is a Government support payment to assist Australian residents achieve an adequate level of income when they reach Age Pension age. The amount payable is based on your home ownership and relationship status as well as the Income and Assets tests. 

Conditions of eligibility 

If you were born before 1 July 1952, you are eligible for Age Pension. If you were born on or after 1 July 1952,  your eligibility will depend on your date  of birth as per  the table below: 

People Born Between 

Eligible For Age Pension At Age 

1 July 1952 and 31 December 1953 

65.5 

1 January 1954 and 30 June 1955 

66 

1 July 1955 and 31 December 1956 

66.5 

1 January 1957 and later 

67 

 

What is the current maximum rate of pension? 

The current rate of age pension changes quarterly and is published on the Services Australia website.  

The Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) is issued to all recipients of the Age Pension. Holders of the PCC receive the following concessions: 

  • various state and local government concessions, which may include reductions in property and water rates, energy bills, public transport costs and motor vehicle registration charges 
     
  • reduced cost medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme 
     
  • free eyesight test from optometrists who bulk bill Medicare and hearing aids through the Commonwealth Hearing Services Program, and

free mail redirection from Australia Post when changing address. 

Your income and assets are tested against minimum and maximum limits. When a person is subjected to the two tests, the test that applies for determining a rate of Age Pension is the one that results in the lowest amount of pension payable. 
 

The Income Test 

Under the Income Test, pensioners are entitled to earn a certain amount of income per fortnight before the maximum benefit is reduced. The income test thresholds change quarterly and are published on the Service Australia website
 

The Assets Test 

The Assets Test is designed to limit access to Centrelink benefits for a person with substantial assets. Pensioners are entitled to a certain value of assets before the maximum pension entitlement is reduced. The applicable thresholds depend on whether or not the  applicant is part of a couple, and whether they are a homeowner or non-homeowner. The Assets Test does not include your principal residence. 

The assets test thresholds change quarterly and are published on the Services Australia website

  • The Work Bonus is an incentive for pensioners over Age Pension age to participate in the workforce. The first $300 of employment income you earn each fortnight is disregarded and not counted as income. 
     
  • Any unused amount (if you earn between zero and $300 in a  single fortnight) is now added to your Work Bonus balance, which can accumulate to $11,800. From 1 December 2022 to 31 December 2023, the maximum Work Bonus balance limit increases from $7,800 to $11,800. This will reset to $7,800 on 1 January 2024.
     
  • Your Work Bonus balance is used to offset any future employment income you earn in a single fortnight above $300. 

 

Who is eligible for the Work Bonus? 

All pensioners over Age Pension age (other than recipients of Parenting Payment Single) are eligible if they have employment income. 

Income the Work Bonus applies to: 

  • Wages paid in Australia and outside Australia 
     
  • Director’s fees. 

In most cases, Centrelink will calculate the Work Bonus using the employment income that is earned in the fortnight before the pension is payable. 

Income the Work Bonus does not apply to: 

  • Leave payments 
     
  • Investments 
     
  • Superannuation income 
     
  • Self-employed income 

How do you get the Work Bonus?

You do not need to apply for the Work Bonus but you will need to keep Centrelink up to date with your earnings. If you receive eligible employment income, Centrelink will automatically recognise this and include it in your assessment. 

WIf you are not eligible to receive Age Pension, then you may be entitled to receive the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). 

The CSHC helps senior Australians with the cost of medicines as it helps reduce the cost of prescription medicines if you are of Age Pension age, but do not qualify for Age Pension. 

To qualify, you must: 

  • be an Australian resident, living in Australia, 
     
  • have reached Age Pension age but not qualify for Age Pension, and 
     
  • meet an income test. To meet the income test, you must earn less than $90,000 a year if you’re single, and $144,000 a year for couples. The Income Test includes adjusted taxable income plus deemed income from any account-based income streams. There is no Assets Test. 

Under current Centrelink rules, you are able to gift cash or assets to another person within specified limits without affecting your Centrelink entitlements. 

There are two concurrent rules, which specify the assessment of gifts by Centrelink: 

  • You are able to gift up to $10,000 (for a single or couple combined) per financial year without affecting your pension. Any gift in excess of this limit is counted under both the Assets and Income Tests for five years. 
     

In addition to the annual $10,000 limit, you cannot gift more  than $30,000 over any rolling 5 year period. Any gifts in excess of this will be counted under both the Assets and Income Tests for five years. 

Caps on employer, salary sacrifice, and tax deductible contributions

Concessional contributions (including employer, salary sacrifice and personal contributions that meet the tax deductible circumstances) are capped at $27,500 per year for everyone (regardless of age).

If you go over the concessional cap, your excess contributions will be included in your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate.

To assist you in paying the additional tax bill, you may release up to 85% of the excess concessional contributions from your super fund. You can only release up to 85% because 15% contributions tax has already been paid by your super fund.

Released contributions will no longer be counted as non-concessional contributions. You will receive a 15% tax offset for this in your tax return.

You can make catch-up concessional contributions into your super using your unused concessional contributions cap amounts from previous years if:

  • your total super balance is less than $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year, and
  • you haven't used all your concessional contributions cap amounts that have accrued from 1 July 2018 onwards. You can carry forward up to five years of unused concessional contributions caps for use in a later financial year, but the rolled forward amounts expire after five years.

For example, if you have a total super balance of $200,000 and do not receive any concessional contributions in any of the previous 4 financial years, in the 2023/24 financial year you can receive concessional contributions up to the combined caps of the 2022/23, 2021/22, 2020/21 and 2019/20 years (i.e. $27,500 cap for 2022/23 + $27,500 cap for 2021/22, $25,000 for 2020/21 and $25,000 for 2019/20  = up to $105,000 of combined 'catch-up' caps).

If you're aged 67 or over, the normal work test rules apply (see below).

 

For personal and spouse contributions (non-concessional contributions):

Anyone under the age of 75 can contribute up to$110,000 per year into super (or can contribute up to $330,000 in one year under the 'bring forward' rule –see below).

The bring forward rule allows you to bring forward any unused non-concessional cap amounts for up to a total of three financial years. E.g. You can choose to forego making personal contributions for the following two financial years after making your original contribution (i.e. $110,000 for year 1 + $110,000 for year 2 + $110,000 for year 3 = $330,000).

Different rules apply if you triggered the bring forward provision prior to 1 July 2022 so it is important to always follow advice provided by your financial planner.

The amount you can bring forward is determined by how much you currently have in super as set out in the table below.

Total Super Balance At 30 June Prior To Financial Year

Contribution And Bring Forward Available

Less than $1.68 million

3 years ($330,000)

At least $1.68 million but less than $1.79 million

2 years ($220,000)

At least $1.79 million but less than $1.9 million

1 year ($110,000)

At least $1.9 million

Nil

Exceeding the $1.9 million threshold is allowable if you make a contribution using the bring forward rule as shown above, but no further after tax contributions can be made once your total super balance is above that $1.9 million threshold.

If you make personal super contributions, you will have the option to claim a tax deduction.

This will allow you to have the flexibility to make concessional contributions either via salary sacrifice (if allowed by your employer) or personal tax-deductible contributions. This flexibility could assist you with:

  • end of year super top-ups by making personal concessional contributions to use up any remaining concessional contribution cap
  • deciding how to contribute bonuses, annual leave and long service leave
  • contributing lump sum leave payments received upon termination of employment tax-effectively.

After claiming a tax deduction on your personal contributions, concessional contribution caps will apply to the amount claimed.

If you exceed the maximum non-concessional cap, you may choose to withdraw the contributions in excess of the non- concessional contribution cap plus 85% of any associated earnings.

The associated earnings withdrawn are taxed at your marginal tax rate. You will also be entitled to a 15% non-refundable tax offset of the associated earnings included in your assessable income.

If you choose not to withdraw your excess non-concessional contributions, they will remain in your super account and your excess non-concessional contributions will be taxed at 45% (plus the Medicare levy).

Additional items

When you reach age 67, you can only claim a tax deduction for a contribution made to super if you work more than 40 hours over 30 consecutive days in that financial year. The work test previously applied to other types of contributions such as non-concessional contributions however this was abolished from 1 July 2022.

You can claim a tax deduction on contributions made into your super account without needing to satisfy the work test if:

  • You are aged 67 – 74
  • Have less than $300,000 in your super account at the end of
  • the previous financial year, and
  • They're made in the financial year immediately after the one in which you last met the work test.

 

The government allows super fund members to split up to 85% of concessional contributions (i.e. all employer contributions including superannuation guarantee, salary sacrifice and member concessional contributions).

Where the fund provides a contribution splitting service (this is not compulsory), members will need to apply to the Trustee after the end of each financial year to split contributions made in the previous financial year, or for contributions in the current year, at the time of a full rollover.

It is important to note that Trustees will only process a splitting request where the receiving spouse has not already met a condition of release (i.e. reached age 65 or retired after reaching preservation age).

In the case of member concessional contributions, the tax deduction will be claimed by the contributing member.

The contributing spouse is subject to their concessional contributions cap.

 

You are able to access your super when you attain preservation age and satisfy a condition of release.

 

What is my preservation age?

The following table outlines the preservation age.

Date Of Birth

Preservation Age

Before 1 July 1963

Already met

1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964

59 years

On or after 1 July 1964

60 years

 

How do I satisfy a condition of release?

To satisfy a condition of release of your super benefits, you must:

  • be permanently retired (i.e. working less than 10 hours per week) on or after your Preservation Age, or
  • have ceased work with an employer (e.g. changed jobs)after age 60,or
  • have reached age 65.

When super contributions are made, they have usually been taxed either by the contributions tax for concessional contributions, or at your marginal tax rate before you make a non-concessional contribution. In rare circumstances (e.g. constitutionally protected funds), some contributions are untaxed until you wish to withdraw your super. This means your balance can contain both taxed and untaxed elements.

Upon withdrawing your super benefits, the monies are broken into two components, tax free and taxable.

 

How are the components calculated on withdrawal?

When withdrawing your funds from super, the taxable and tax free components are taken in proportion to the total balance.

What makes up the tax free component?

The tax free component generally consists of personal contributions and amounts which represent the portion of a super benefit that accrued before 1 July 1983.

What makes up the taxable component?

The taxable component is the total value of the super benefit less the tax free component and is primarily made up of employer and salary sacrifice contributions.

 

 

 

Tax Treatment (Excluding Medicare Levy)

 

Age of client at time of payment

Taxed element

Untaxed element

Under preservation age

  • 20% tax
  • 30% tax on amounts up to the untaxed plan cap*
  • 45% tax on the remaining amount

Between preservation age and 60

  • Tax-free for amounts up to
    the low rate cap**
  • Up to 15% tax on the
    remaining amount
  • 15% tax on amounts up to the low rate cap**
  • 30% tax on amounts between the low
    rate cap** and $1,705,000*
  • 45% tax on the remaining amount

60 or over

  • Tax-free
  • 15% tax on amounts up to untaxed plan cap*
  • 45% tax on the remaining amount

Togethr Financial Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 84 124 491 078, AFSL 455010) trading as Equip Financial Planning and Catholic Super is a subsidiary of Togethr Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN 11 604 515 791).  It is a related entity to Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd (ABN 64 006 964 049, AFSL 246383), the trustee of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund (ABN 33 813 823 017) whose divisions include Catholic Super.

This information is general information only. It has been prepared without taking into account your personal investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed in any way as, investment, legal or financial advice.