Looking to boost your partner's super through spouse super contributions? You can easily make super contributions on behalf of your partner – whether you're married, de facto or same-sex.
You might be in a position where your partner is a stay-at-home parent or working part-time. If your partner is a low-income earner or doesn't work at all, making contributions to their super can be a smart financial move. Not only will you be growing your super together, but you may also be able to take advantage of a tax offset and maximise the amount you can hold across both super funds.
We've put together this guide listing the key things you need to know about making contributions to your partner's super, which is also known as 'spouse super contributions'.
What are my options for putting money in my partner's super account?
You have two options when it comes to topping up your partner's super: spouse contributions and contributions splitting. Let's explore each one in more depth.
You can boost your partner's super by making contributions on their behalf. These are considered after-tax (or non-concessional) contributions, meaning they count towards your partner's non-concessional contributions cap.
For super purposes, a spouse can be someone you are married to, or a person you live with on a genuine domestic basis in a de-facto relationship.
If you're making after-tax contributions to your partner's super, your partner needs to be under age 75 to be eligible to receive spouse contributions.
Making personal spouse super contributions may also allow you to claim a tax offset of up to $540 per year. In order to receive the highest amount of tax offset, you'll need to contribute at least $3,000 and your partner's income must be less than $37,000 per year. If you contribute more than $3,000, you'll still receive the maximum tax offset of $540. If they earn between $37,000 and $40,000 per year, the tax offset amount is reduced. If they earn more than $40,000 per year, you won't receive a spouse contribution tax offset.
Am I eligible to reduce my tax through spouse contributions?
If you decide to make spouse super contributions, you and your partner will need to meet a few eligibility criteria to qualify for the tax offset in addition to the income and contribution requirements noted above:
- Contributions must either come out of your income that has already been taxed or from other savings (eg an inheritance) - it can't come from your pre-tax salary
- The contribution needs to be paid from you into your partner's super fund or retirement savings account
- You both need to be Australian residents
- You must be in a de facto relationship or married, and be living together on a permanent basis (including same-sex couples)
- The contribution must be made before the day which is 28 days after their 75th birthday
- Your spouse must not have exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap of $110,000 per year (which includes the spouse's contributions, which will count towards that cap)
What are the benefits of making spouse super contributions?
There are several advantages to making spouse contributions. The main benefits include:
- Both you and your partner are more financially prepared for retirement
- You can claim a tax offset of up to $540 per year
- Spouse super contributions won't be taxed, just as long as they don't go over the non-concessional contributions cap
Are there any limitations to making spouse super contributions?
For the 2022-23 financial year, the non-concessional contributions cap is set at $110,000. Basically, this means you and your partner can only make personal and spouse contributions up to a total of $110,000 per year to your partner's super fund without exceeding the cap. You and your partner may also bring forward up to two years' worth of non-concessional caps depending on your partner's total superannuation balance, contributing up to a total of $330,000. If contributions go over these limits, your partner may be taxed on associated earnings or if the excess is not released from super, it is taxed at the highest marginal tax rate. Generally, you have to be under age 75 to make personal or spouse contributions to super.
It's also worth noting that in order to receive the tax offset, your partner can't exceed their non-concessional contributions cap for the financial year, they can't already be in an active bring-forward period, and their super balance can't exceed $1.7 million or more on June 30 of the last financial year.
How do you make super contributions for your partner?
Making contributions for your partner is relatively straightforward – first, your spouse should speak with their super fund about it. If your partner doesn't have a fund, they can complete an ANZ Smart Choice Super application to open an account. Once that's up and running, you can make contributions to their ANZ Smart Choice Super account using BPAY. If you need any assistance making contributions to your partner's super, call us on 13 12 87.
Contributions splitting is another way to grow your partner's super. Not only does it help boost the balance of your partner's super account, but it can also benefit you if your super balance is set to exceed the individual limit.
You can split up to 85% of your before-tax (or concessional) super contributions with your partner. Before-tax contributions include superannuation contributions made by your employer (usually known as super guarantee (SG) contributions), as well as salary sacrifice contributions. They can also cover any voluntary superannuation contributions you've claimed as a tax deduction.
How do I know if I'm eligible for spouse super contributions splitting?
If you opt for contributions splitting, generally it must be done after the end of a financial year i.e. after 30 June. Your partner must also be under 59 years old i.e. less than their preservation age (currently between 59 and 60, depending on when they were born), or attained their preservation age but under 65 and not retired. Find out more about your preservation age.
What are the benefits of contributions splitting?
Super contributions splitting offers a few key benefits, including:
- In retirement you may be able to hold a higher amount across both super funds. If you're a high-income earner and your super balance is likely to hit the $1.7 million balance limit, contributions splitting can increase the amount that you can hold as a couple.
- If your partner is younger than you, you can reduce the assets that can be assessed by Centrelink's means test. Money sitting in superannuation isn't counted towards the means test until the owner reaches Age Pension age or starts a pension, which may increase your Centrelink entitlements.
Are there any limits to contributions splitting?
You can split the lesser of 85% of your concessional contributions for the financial year, up to the concessional contributions cap (currently $27,500). Your cap may be higher than this if you have accessed unused concessional contributions from previous years. Just note that any amounts that you decide to split to your partner's super fund will still count towards your concessional contributions cap, not theirs.
How can I set up contributions splitting?
If you already hold an ANZ Smart Choice Super account and you'd like to set up contributions splitting, you can easily do so. You simply need to download the form here or from the ATO and fill out a few details. You can find out how much you contributed last year by logging in to your ANZ Smart Choice Super account at http://www.anz.com/smartchoiceaccess or by checking your annual statement. If you need any assistance with setting up super contributions splitting, you can call us on 13 12 87.
What else should I know about spouse super contributions?
There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make contributions to your partner's super:
- Make sure your spouse contribution is within the caps. If you exceed the non-concessional contributions cap the ATO will generally give you the option to withdraw the excess, plus some earnings which will be taxed in your spouse's hands. Plus, you'll lose the tax offset for making the spouse contribution.
- Make sure you're both aware of the government rules around when you can access your super. Generally speaking, you can access your super once you've retired and reached preservation age (this is currently between 59 and 60, depending on when you were born), or once you've reached 65. Find out more about your preservation age.
- If you haven't already, you may wish to consolidate your super accounts, based on your personal circumstances. Not only will this save you money on fees, but it will also make managing your and your partner's super funds much easier, as you'll only have two accounts to look after. Note, when you're consolidating, make sure you and your partner look through each of your super accounts and compare them to ensure you're choosing the best one for you, considering things such as fees and insurance(s). And if you are wanting to do a contribution split to your spouse from your existing accounts, this will need to be done before consolidation.
- Sit down with your partner and look at your finances together to figure out your superannuation goals. Ensure you're making spouse contributions that will help meet your shared target and cover both of your expenses throughout retirement.
- If you want assistance with working out a plan for your retirement, you can chat to a financial planner. They can help you optimise your super contributions strategy to ensure you make the most of tax offsets and tax-free thresholds.
- To make a spouse contribution or split contributions with your partner, you must be legally married or in a de facto relationship, living together on a permanent basis (including same-sex couples).
Where can I get more information on superannuation?
For more information on making spouse super contributions or superannuation in general, you can call the ANZ Smart Choice Super contact centre on 13 12 87.
ANZ Smart Choice Super makes it easy to manage your and your partner's super and to contribute to both funds. You can make payments to your partner's super online and through the ANZ app, and you can take advantage of low fees and the ability to bundle your banking and super accounts. For more information on ANZ Smart Choice Super, click here.
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