The federal government has a range of schemes and initiatives to help people save more super for their retirement. Most of them are aimed at helping lower income earners.
Best of all, you don’t even have to apply for many of them – the payment or tax refund is made to you or your super account automatically. Here’s a summary.
1. Boost your super, and so will the government
Under the ‘co-contribution’ scheme, if you make a $1,000 contribution into your super from your after-tax income (ie your take-home pay), the government will pay up to $500 into your super account.*
To be eligible for the full $500, you must earn less than $33,516 (2013-14) a year. If you earn more than that you can still get some government contribution, but it reduces on a sliding scale and cuts out if you earn $48,516 (2013-14).†
$500 may not sound like very much, but remember that this scheme isn’t a one-off – you could take advantage of it every year.
What do you have to do?
You don't need to specifically apply for the super co-contribution. If you're eligible, all you need to do is make personal super contributions and lodge an income tax return. The tax office will then work out your entitlement and make the payment into your super account.
2. Help your spouse, and the tax office will help you
If your spouse earns less than $13,800 a year, you can make a contribution to their super from your after-tax income and receive a tax rebate.
The maximum rebate you could get is $540, based on two things:
- To get the maximum, your spouse must earn under $10,800 a year. The rebate reduces above that amount, up to the earnings limit of $13,800.
- To receive the maximum rebate, you would also have to make the maximum contribution, which is $3,000 a year.
3. More compulsory super from your employer
On 1 July 2013, the amount that your employer must contribute to your super increased from 9% per year to 9.25%. It will keep gradually increasing up to 12% by 2019.
According to the government, this will mean that a 30-year-old earning around $70,000 will have an extra $105,000 in their super if they retire at 65.^
4. Up to $500 extra in your super
The ‘low income super contribution’ is a government payment of up to $500 per financial year to help low income earners save for their retirement.
The payment is 15% of any before-tax contributions you or your employer make each year. The most you can receive for a financial year is $500 and the minimum is $10.† To be eligible, you must earn less than $37,000 a year.
What do you have to do?
If you’re eligible, you don’t have to do a thing. The tax office will calculate your payment based on your tax return and/or information provided by your super fund (provided your fund has got your tax file number), and deposit the money into your super account.
5. No upper age limit for compulsory super
From 1 July 2013, the maximum age limit for receiving compulsory employer super contributions has been abolished. This means that eligible workers aged over 70 will now get super contributions from their employers.
6. The over 60s can put more money into super
Currently there is a $25,000 a year limit on contributing to super from your pre-tax earnings. From 1 July 2013, the limit is being raised to $35,000 per year for those aged over 60. (From 1 July 2014 the $35,000 limit will also apply for those aged over 50.)†
*Some eligibility criteria apply
†This initiative has yet to be legislated
Important informationSuncorp Portfolio Services Limited (Trustee) (ABN 61 063 427 958, AFSL 237905, RSE Licence No L0002059) is the issuer of Suncorp WealthSmart Personal Super, Suncorp WealthSmart Pension, Suncorp WealthSmart Business Super, and Suncorp WealthSmart Term Allocated Pension. These products are part of the Suncorp Master Trust (Fund) (ABN 98 350 952 022, RSE Fund Registration No. R1056655). Unless otherwise stated, the Trustee and any other company within the Suncorp Group do not guarantee the repayment of capital or the performance of these products. This product is not a bank deposit or other liability of Suncorp Bank (Suncorp-Metway Limited ABN 66 010 831 722) (SML) and is subject to investment risk including possible delays in repayment and loss of the interest and principal invested. SML is not liable or responsible for, and does not guarantee or otherwise support, these products.