First Home Super Saver Scheme: Using super to buy your first home

If you’re dreaming of buying your first home, there may be some good news. The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS scheme) is a government initiative that allows first-home buyers to save for part of their home deposit inside their super account.

What is it?

The First Home Super Saver Scheme allows you to make voluntary super contributions of up to $15,000 a year, or a maximum of $30,000 in total, to your superannuation account to use towards a deposit for your first home. 

All contributions for the FHSS scheme must be voluntary contributions, so you can’t include Superannuation Guarantee (SG) amounts paid by your employer as part of your deposit. The voluntary contributions you make under this scheme, which includes contributions you receive from your employer, must also be within the current contribution caps.

  • $27,500^ concessional contributions 
  • $110,000^ non-concessional contributions.

^ contribution caps for 2021/22 financial year

When you buy your first home, you’ll be able to use the money you’ve voluntarily contributed for this purpose, plus any deemed earnings on it, towards your deposit. This applies to voluntary contributions made from 1 July 2017. 

Am I eligible?

Eligibility for the First Home Super SaverScheme is determined by the Australian Taxation Office – so confirm with them before you start making additional voluntary contributions to your super for use toward your home deposit. As a guide, to be eligible, you must:

  • be 18 years and older;
  • have never owned a property in Australia, including investment property, vacant land, commercial property, a lease of land in Australia, or a company title interest in land in Australia;
  • not have previously requested a release from super under the FHSS scheme.

If you suffer from financial hardship, you may still be able to access the FHSS scheme for a new home to buy (and live in), even if you have previously owned a home.

Will it help me save for a deposit faster?

The Government estimates that for most people, the First Home Super Saver Scheme could boost the savings they can put towards a deposit by at least 30 per cent compared with saving through a standard deposit account1. This is due to the concessional tax treatment of superannuation and that the current interest rate on most deposit accounts is lower than the deemed interest rate that will be applied to your First Home Super Saver Scheme contributions2.

Graph titled "Investments taxed in and outside your super" Description provided below.: Pie chart indicates that investments within your super are taxed up to 15%, where as investments outside your super are taxed up to 47%.

How do I access my contributions?

You can apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) when you are planning on purchasing your first home. The ATO will assess your eligibility and calculate your deemed earnings on your additional contributions2. Consider approaching the ATO as soon as you are starting to look for a home, to allow enough time for the ATO process of assessing and then releasing your money. The ATO will then notify your super fund as to how much of your super savings the fund can release to you, and any tax considerations for you to be aware of. More information on this process can be found on the ATO website.

If you’re going to use the First Home Super Saver Scheme, it’s important to plan ahead. You must apply for and receive an FHSS scheme determination from the ATO before you sign a property contract or apply for the release of your FHSS scheme amounts. Once the money is released from your super account, you then have 12 months to either purchase or construct a property. Or if you decide not to go ahead with buying/constructing at that time the ATO may grant you an extension for a further 12 months, or you can recontribute this money to your super account.

Your super, your money

The FHSS scheme is currently the only scheme purposely designed so you can use super to buy a house. And you can use any super account, including a BT Super account, to help you save for a home deposit as part of this strategy. For more information, visit the ATO website.

Next: Take control of your super

2017 Budget Speech  
² The amount of earnings that can be realised will be calculated using a deemed rate of return based on the 90 day Bank Bill rate plus three percentage points (as per the Shortfall Interest Charge). The ‘deeming rate’ is the rate of income the government assumes a person’s financial assets to earn. It assumes assets, such as your super, earn a set rate of income, no matter what they really earn. Your actual returns could be higher or lower than the deeming rates.

If you are saving for your first home, the government’s First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme allows you to make additional contributions into your super account to use towards a deposit.

Our guide shows you a range of strategies you can use to help grow your super. Try just one or embrace them all, to boost your super savings over time.

BT Super for Life is a simple personal super account you can manage online, alongside your everyday banking, and access a range of investment options.
Learn about contributing to your superannuation and the caps that apply.
As well as being able to grow your retirement savings, you can apply for insurance through your super account to protect yourself and your family if illness, injury or worse happens.
Learn how to estimate the amount of super you may need to support your preferred retirement lifestyle. It’s about finding the retirement number that’s right for you.

Information current as at 22 February 2021.

The article was prepared by BT, a part of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 233714.

This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehendsivecomprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Superannuation is a means of saving for retirement, which is, in part, compulsory. The government has placed restrictions on when you can access your investment held in superannuation. The Government has set caps on the amount of money that you can add to superannuation each year on both a concessional and non-concessional tax basis. There will be tax consequences if you breach these caps. For more detail, speak with a financial adviser or visit the ATO website.

BT cannot give tax advice. Any tax considerations outlined in this article are general statements, based on an interpretation of the current tax law, and do not constitute tax advice. The tax implications of superannuation can impact individual situations differently and you should seek specific tax advice from a registered tax agent or registered tax (financial) adviser.

This article may contain material provided by third parties derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, no company in the Westpac Group accepts any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of, or endorses any such material. Except where contrary to law, we intend by this notice to exclude liability for this material.