Tabled below is a list of Super strategies that may apply to you before 30 June.
1. Reducing Taxable Income with Additional CONCESSIONAL super contributions
2. Government’s co-contribution scheme (do you qualify) ?
3. Spouse contributions Rebate
4. Making Large NON-CONCESSIONAL Contributions
5. Re-Contribution Strategy
6 . Rebalance Super Levels between Spouses
7 . Super splitting (to spouse only)
1. REDUCING TAXABLE INCOME WITH CONCESSIONAL SUPER CONTRIBUTIONS
If your taxable income is going to be above $37,000 you may wish to consider some additional CONCESSIONAL super contributions and claiming a tax deduction to reduce your taxable income in the higher tax brackets.
Regardless of whether you are a wage earner or self employed. For the first time this strategy is now available for anyone under age 65 or working (between 65 and 74 and satisfies the work test of gainful employment of 40 hours in 30 days). So this year when you are looking for ways to legitimately reduce your tax before 30 June consider making a personal Concessional Super Contribution (and claiming a tax deduction).
WARNING – The CAP has been considerably reduced from last year with a maximum allowable in Concessional Contributions of $25,000 per person (inclusive of existing employer and salary sacrifice contributions).
Refer Hudson article dated 30/03/2018 titled “Super Deductions for Everyone” for details surrounding Concessional Contributions and qualification criteria for the contribution and also the tax deduction.
Trap 1. Make sure you account for your employers ‘Super Guarantee’ (SG) contributions in your calculations including salary sacrifice.
Trap 2 – Make sure you account for any life insurance premiums that may be structured under a super policy.
Trap 3 – Check Timing – Your pay slip does not necessarily match the timing of when the super fund receives employer or sacrificed contributions, so if you are running up to your Concessional CAP, be sure to check in with your super fund on the count so far (your pay slip may mislead you (for eg. Your June 2017 contribution may have arrived in July 2017 and therefore counted in this year’s Cap).
Check your contribution classifications are correct
Contributions received by your super fund will be classified as ‘concessional’ (tax deductible to the payer) or ‘non-concessional’ (not tax deductible).
If your contributions have been incorrectly classified as ‘non-concessional’, it can prevent your accountant from claiming the deductions. This is an easy mistake.
Tip 1 – Make sure your accountant is aware of any personal concessional contributions you have made – pointless exercise if you don’t actually claim the deductions – your super fund should provide a summary statement. You will have to complete a form “intention to Claim a Tax Deduction” to advise your super fund you intend to claim the tax deductions.
Tip 2 – Even after 30 June, it may not be too late to correct classifications if an error is detected. On this note, it is worth checking your 2016/17 contribution classifications as you still have (in some cases) until 30 June 2018 to correct those.
2. DO YOU QUALIFY FOR THE GOVERNMENT’S CO-CONTRIBUTION SCHEME?
- Only personal ‘non-concessional’ contributions qualify (ie not tax deductible)
- The maximum matching rate is 50 cents for every $1 of eligible personal super contributions.
- The maximum benefit this year is $500 for a $1,000 personal contribution
- The maximum benefit applies if your income is under $36,813.
- The benefit cuts out if your income is above $51,813.
You will be eligible for the super co-contribution if you can answer yes to all of the following:
- you made one or more eligible personal super (non-concessional) contributions to your super account during the financial year
- you pass the two income tests described below
- Income Threshold Test – your income (including fringe benefits, and salary sacrifice, etc) is under the higher threshold of $51,813
- 10% Eligible Income test – 10% or more of your total income must come from employment-related activities, carrying on a business, or a combination of both.
- you were less than 71 years old at the end of the financial year
- you did not hold a temporary visa at any time during the financial year (unless you are a New Zealand citizen or it was a prescribed visa)
- you lodged your tax return for the relevant financial year.
How to calculate and maximise your benefit.
This is made very easy for you by the following Government Website which calculates your benefit for you and how much you need to put in. Remember to include any fringe benefits and any Salary sacrificed income in your income figure as well as any other taxable income.
The amount you put in yourself as a personal non-concessional contribution needs to be double the amount of your potential co-contribution benefit.
Full Benefit – If your income is under the lower threshold of $36,813 you can qualify for the maximum benefit of $500 co-contribution. You would need to put in double the con-contribution yourself amount as a personal contribution to gain the benefit.
Partial Benefit – If your income is between the two thresholds ($36,813 and $51,813), you may qualify for at least a partial government co-contribution. The benefit reduces from the maximum benefit of $500 by 3.33 cents for every dollar you earn over $36,021 until it cuts out at $51,021.
Example – If your income (for the year) is $45,000, your maximum benefit is $227. You would therefore need to contribute $454 to qualify for your full entitlement.
- Make sure your contribution is a personal ‘non concessional’ contribution. You cannot claim a tax deduction for this contribution.
- Note this to your tax agent when completing your tax return.
- Even if you borrowed the money from say a home loan at 5.0% to fund a contribution of $1000, the interest cost for one year would be $50 compared to a maximum potential benefit of $500. You could then pay the loan off over the next year.
- If you retired this year and your income is lower than normal or if you are now only working at more modest levels than you once did, this could also apply to you.
This is FREE MONEY for your super. If you have been saving to invest long term anyway then this is a no brainer.
3 . SPOUSE CONTRIBUTIONS REBATE
The qualifying levels have relaxed significantly (compared to previous years).
If your spouse’s income is under $37,000 (previously $10,800), you can make a contribution of up to $3,000 and claim up to a maximum 18% rebate ($540 maximum). This phases out to nil once the receiving spouse’s income is above $40,000 (previously $13,800). In assessing Spousal income, you must also include any reportable Fringe Benefits or additional contributions (or salary sacrifice) mandated above Super Guarantee (SG) levels.
4. MAKING LARGE NON-CONCESSIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS
If you have been considering making a large NON-CONCESSIONAL contribution to super with cash you are sitting on or about to receive from sale of investment assets or a windfall gain such as an inheritance, you can make a personal non-concessional contribution up to $100,000 per annum per person. You first must ensure you qualify to make a contribution (which requires a WORK TEST (if between age 65 and 74)
For those with enough cash to consider the 3 year bring forward provision (applicable only to those under age 65), you can contribute up to $300,000.
WARNING – IF you exceed the Maximum / CAP for non-concessional contributions, the penalty is heavy, with the excess being taxed at the highest marginal tax bracket (+ medicare levy).
5. RE-CONTRIBUTION STRATEGY
This strategy allows you to reduce the amount of ‘Taxable Component’ applicable to your super balance by firstly withdrawing a Lump Sum from Super (with a high ’taxable’ component). This is dependant upon you being above preservation age and meeting a condition of release from your super. Secondly the funds are contributed back to super as a non-concessional ‘tax free’ contribution. This strategy can be used to maximum effect by utilising the 3 year bring forward provision (under age 65 only) allowing up to $300,000 to be withdrawn and re-contributed back to super. It is most commonly applicable to persons who have retired before 65.
This strategy could benefit your children in the form of reduced taxes upon ultimate inheritance of any super balance or in the case of retirees under age 60, reduce the assessable amount of your pension income. There are strict criteria to qualify for this strategy in terms of both the withdrawal and the re-contribution. – refer to Cornucopia Report dated 15/12/2017 – for details on this strategy and the strict criteria of qualification for this strategy.
Caution : The qualifications for this strategy are specific and complex and the tax consequences/PENALTIES can be significant (especially under age 60). It is recommended this strategy be discussed and implemented through your Hudson adviser.
6 . REBALANCE SUPER LEVELS BETWEEN SPOUSES
This strategy (much like the re-contribution strategy above) will be dependant upon your capacity to qualify for ‘unpreserved’ Lump Sum withdrawals (free of tax) and your spouse’s qualification to take advantage of the ‘3 year bring forward provision’.
The benefits are three-fold :
(a) increasing the tax free component of your collective super balances (benefiting potential future children beneficiaries with reduced tax).
(b) lowering your current Super balance further under the new $1.6 Million CAP allowing further contributions to Super in the coming years.
(c ) sheltering assets to a younger spouse for Centrelink benefits.
Caution : The qualifications for this strategy are specific and complex and it is recommended that they be discussed and implemented through an adviser.
7 . SUPER SPLITTING (TO SPOUSE ONLY)
Super splitting is the process of rolling over your previous year’s “Concessional” contributions (less the 15% tax) to your spouse. Once 30 June 2018 arrives, the window for rolling over last years’ 2016/17 contributions to your spouse will close.
Reasons why you would consider this:
- Useful strategy in levelling out super balances between spouses as a natural hedge against legislative risk.
- Spousal age gap:
- Shelter assets to younger spouse (for Centrelink benefits), or
- To increase accessibility of super by splitting to the older spouse – closest to preservation age. Similarly super splitting to an older spouse may allow you to get the assets into the tax-free arena of Allocated Pensions (no tax on earnings of the asset base).
- Shelter assets to younger spouse (for Centrelink benefits), or