Contributing to super after 65

With Australians living for longer, not everyone is ready to sign off from work permanently, and get their retirement started, at 65. 

If you plan to work a little longer and want to continue to contribute to your super to build your retirement nest egg, here’s some of the ways you still can.

Employer-paid contributions

If you’re between 65 and 74 and still working, the rules around employer-paid super contributions don’t change. Generally speaking, from 1 July 2022, you’re eligible to receive super from your employer if you are aged over 18. It doesn’t matter if your job is permanent, or casual.

The work test

Effective 1 July 2022, if you’re aged between 67-74, you won’t need to satisfy the ‘work test’ before making non-concessional contributions and salary sacrifice contributions to your superannuation. However, if you want to claim a tax deduction on your personal contribution, you’ll still need to satisfy the work test requirement.

Individuals aged between 67 and 74 who have recently retired, may be eligible to make additional voluntary contributions to super where they meet certain eligibility criteria around their previous year of work and their total super balance.
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Personal contributions

If you are under age 75, you can make voluntary personal contributions regardless of your employment status.

Are there limits on how much I can contribute into my super?

  • The general concessional contributions cap is $27,500 per financial year for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years. You may have a higher concessional cap by carrying forward your unused concessional cap amounts accrued from 1 July 2018 (for up to five financial years) and your total super balance was less than $500,000 at the end of the previous financial year.
  • The concessional contributions cap includes employer-paid contributions, contributions made under a salary sacrifice arrangement, and any personal after-tax contributions that you have claimed a deduction on.
  • The non-concessional contributions cap is $110,000 (or $330,000 under the bring forward rule) for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years. If you are under age 75, you won’t need to meet the work test to be able to make non-concessional contributions, unless you are aged 67-74 and wish to claim a tax deduction^. Refer to ato.gov.au for eligibility criteria. Spouse contributions can only be made if you are gainfully employed*. Once you turn 75, spouse contributions can’t be made.
  • If at 30 June in the previous financial year, your total superannuation balance is greater than or equal to $1.7 million, you won’t be able to make any non-concessional contributions to super.

Other contributions you can make

1. Concessional contributions

From 1 July 2022, if you are under age 75, you can contribute to your superannuation out of your income, before tax is paid without needing to satisfy the ‘work test’. An example of this is salary sacrifice. Salary sacrifice is where you nominate a certain portion of your before-tax salary to be paid as an extra contribution to super rather than receiving the money in your take-home pay.

The general cap on concessional contributions is $27,500 for the 2021/22 and the 2022/23 financial years. You may have a higher concessional cap if you are eligible to carry forward unused concessional cap amounts. You can read more about contribution caps on the ATO website.

2. Non-concessional contributions

These include contributions to your superannuation you make from your income after you have paid tax on it, for which you have not claimed a tax deduction. Other contributions that are counted as non-concessional contributions include:

  • contributions made by your spouse into your account; and
  • concessional contributions made in excess of your concessional contributions cap (generally $27,500  for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years) that are not released from super under the relevant release authority.

3. Government Co-contributions

The government may make a superannuation co-contribution to your superannuation account up to a maximum of $500 if you are a low or middle-income earner and make a personal after-tax contribution to your superannuation. For the 2021/22# financial year to be eligible, you must:

  • Make an eligible personal (after-tax) super contribution during the financial year
  • Earn less than $56,112 before tax 
  • Be less than 71 years old at the end of the financial year
  • Have more than 10% of your total income come from employment related activities, carrying on a business or a combination of these 
  • Not hold a temporary visa at any point during the financial year (unless you are a New Zealand citizen, or it was a prescribed visa)
  • Lodge your tax return for the financial year
  • Have a total super balance less than the general transfer balance cap ($1.7 million for the 2021/22 financial year) at the end of 30 June of the previous financial year
  • Have not contributed more than your non-concessional contribution cap.

# The 2022/2023 thresholds are yet to be confirmed. 

4. Spouse contributions

If your spouse or partner is a low-income earner, he or she may be able to claim a tax offset of up to $540 under certain conditions if they make a non-concessional contribution to your superannuation. Alternatively, your spouse may be able to split their concessional contributions made during the financial year with you into your superannuation fund. 

If your spouse is on a low income, their ability to build their super is limited. However, there are ways to help while potentially earning yourself a tax rebate.
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5. Downsizer

For some Australians, downsizing your family home can be a useful way to contribute a large sum into your super. From 1 July 2022, if you are aged 60 or over, you may be eligible to contribute up to $300,000 ($600,000 combined for a couple) from the proceeds of the sale of your principal residence to your superannuation as a downsizer contribution. Eligible downsizer contributions do not count towards your contribution caps – if you provide your super fund with the appropriate form before or at the time you make the contribution, nor will you need to meet rules around existing maximum total superannuation balances, the work test or maximum ages for contributions.

Did you know that you could consider investing the proceeds of the sale of your family home to your super – depending on your age and circumstances – as a downsizer contribution?
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Are there limits on how much I can contribute into my super?

  • The general concessional contributions cap is $27,500 per financial year for the 2020/21 and the 2022/23 financial years. You may have a higher concessional cap by carrying forward your unused concessional cap amounts accrued from 1 July 2018 (for up to five financial years) and your total super balance was less than $500,000 at the end of the previous financial year.
  • The concessional contributions cap includes employer-paid contributions, contributions made under a salary sacrifice arrangement, and any personal after-tax contributions that you have claimed a deduction on.
  • The non-concessional contributions cap is $110,000 (or $330,000 under the bring forward rule) for the 2020/21 and 2022/23  financial years. 
  • If at 30 June in the previous financial year, your total superannuation balance is greater than or equal to $1.7 million, you won’t be able to make any non-concessional contributions to super.

Next: How much will you need to enjoy your retirement?

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Things you should know

^ From 1 July 2022.
* Gainfully employed means employed or self-employed (for gain or reward) for at least 40 hours in a period of not more than 30 consecutive days in the financial year in which the contribution is made.

This information is current as at 16 March 2022

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 comprehensive 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.