How to claim personal super contributions on your tax return

Did you know you can claim personal super contributions back on your tax return? Read on to find out how!

Add money to your superannuation and score a tax savings today! How good does this sound?

We explain how to claim personal super contributions on your tax return.

Most Australians know that super is money for retirement. What’s less well known is that you don’t solely have to rely on your bosses’ contributions to grow your super savings. Better still, money you add to super from your own pocket (post-tax) can be tax deductible.

What is a Personal Super Contribution?

A personal super contribution is a contribution you make to your super fund ‘after-tax’. This should not be confused with pre-tax contributions your employer makes or that you salary sacrifice into your fund. We’re only talking about after-tax super contributions here.

Not so long ago, you needed to be self-employed to claim personal super contributions on tax.

That all changed from 1 July 2017. These days you may be able to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions even if you are a salary employee. But, there are a few points to note.

How to make a personal super contribution

Making a tax deductible contribution to your fund is easy. You can do it as a bill payment from your everyday bank account. Check you have the right BPAY details for your fund, and allow a few days before 30 June for the money to reach your super account.

Another easy option is to speak with your employer and ask them to do it for you. Similar to a salary sacrifice arrangement (where an employer pays an extra amount of your pre-tax income to your super), many will do the same with post-tax income.

The important thing to remember: The contributions must be post-tax if you want to claim them as a deduction on your return.

 How does tax deductible super work on my return?

There are two important steps to claim a personal super contribution on your tax return.

Get in touch with your super fund and tell them you want to claim a deduction for your personal superannuation contributions, AND

Make sure you get a reply from them BEFORE you lodge your tax return.

Once you hear back from them you can lodge your return. At item D12, Personal Superannuation Contributions you enter the amount you wish to claim as a deduction on your return.

Important Note: There are limits to how much super you can claim.

In the ATO’s eyes, the above process effectively converts an ‘after-tax’ super contribution to a ‘before tax’ super contribution. This is important to note.

Up to $25,000 can be added to your super each year in ‘before-tax’ or concessional contributions before a higher tax rate applies. They usually consist of:

  • Your employers’ mandatory contributions (minimum 9.5% of your salary), and
  • Your pre-tax or salary sacrifice contributions.
  • Plus, they also include any after-tax contributions you intend to claim a deduction on.

As an example: If your boss has already paid $20,000 into your super, you can claim up to $5,000 in personal contributions in the current financial year.

If your employer uses the new single touch payroll system, you can see how much has been added to your super at any stage.

You also need to meet a work test if you’re aged 65 to 74 years old. That means working at least 40 hours in a consecutive 30-day period each financial year.

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