Who Can Make Tax-Deductible Superannuation Contributions?

In the past, making a tax-deductible super contribution was fairly restricted, and in most cases could only be done if you were self-employed. Since 1 July 2017 though, anyone under 65, or between 65 and 74 who fulfils the work test, can make a tax-deductible contribution to their super fund.

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The old rules were that to claim a deduction on personal super contributions you had to either be self-employed or fulfil a different test, called the 10% test. This test meant that only if less than 10% of your yearly income came from employment were you eligible for a tax deduction on you super contributions.

However, these requirements were scrapped in 2017, and now almost everyone can claim a deduction on their tax, although there are restrictions if you are contributing to specific types of super funds. These include, according to the Australian Tax Office:

  • constitutionally protected funds or other untaxed funds that would not include your contribution in its assessable income
  • Commonwealth public sector superannuation schemes in which you have a defined benefit interest
  • super funds that notified the ATO before the start of the income year that they elected to treat all member contributions to the
    • super fund as non-deductible
    • defined benefit interest within the fund as non-deductible

How do I claim a deduction?

To claim a tax deduction on personal super contributions, you need to provide a notice of intent to your super fund and receive an acknowledgement in writing. This should done be on or before the earlier of:

  • the day you lodge your tax return for the year in which the contributions were made, or
  • the end of the following financial year

You can notify your fund by:

Once you have received acknowledgment from your fund, you can claim your deduction through your tax return. Be aware though, that once you claim a deduction, your contribution will be taxed at up to 15% within the super fund, and you can’t receive co-contributions for it.

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