What are super contributions?

Super contributions are a great way to grow your super. For the 2023-24 financial year, employers are required to pay 11% of your pay into super and you can also make voluntary contributions to boost the amount you’ll have when you retire.

Super and retirement planning

The amount of super you have in your account when you retire will impact your standard of living during retirement. Learn how you can make voluntary contributions to boost your total super balance.

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    Your retirement lifestyle will, in part, depend on how much super you have.

    Making extra contributions is a great way to grow your super.

    On top of the mandatory superannuation guarantee contributions (SG contributions for short) that your employer makes, you can also make voluntary payments to your account to boost your balance for the future.

    Contributions come in two forms; concessional, meaning before tax, and non-concessional, meaning after-tax.

    Concessional contributions come from your before-tax income.

    They include your SG payments as well as any extra contributions you've made via salary sacrifice.

    Non-concessional contributions come from your after-tax income.

    They include voluntary payments you make from your after-tax income, as well as spouse contributions.

    Because concessional contributions come from your before-tax earnings, your super fund will deduct 15% from your contribution and send it to the ATO.

    Non-concessional contributions are made using money that's already been taxed.

    So when a non-concessional contribution is made to your super, no further tax needs to be deducted.

    There are a few other ways you can grow your super besides the contributions I've already talked about.

    The First Home Super Saver Scheme can help you save a deposit for your first home faster.

    The downsizer contribution allows older Australians to make additional contributions, to their super using the proceeds from the sale of their home.

    And there's also the super co-contribution where, depending on your income, the government may top up your super when you make an after-tax contribution.

    Extra contributions now can make a big difference to your future balance, but how much extra you contribute will depend on a lot of factors like your budget, goals, and stage of life.

    UniSuper's retirement savings, and retirement income calculators can help you understand how much super you can expect to retire with.

    They can also help you assess the impact of making regular or one-off voluntary contributions to your savings.

Types of super contributions

Super contributions are placed into two categories: concessional and non-concessional contributions. The main difference between the two is that concessional contributions are generally taxed at 15%, and non-concessional contributions aren’t.

Concessional contributions

Concessional contributions are made to your account prior to income tax being calculated and deducted from the amount. These are also known as before-tax contributions. Common examples of concessional contributions include:

Superannuation guarantee

This is the amount that employers must pay into an employee’s super account from their wages.

Salary sacrifice contributions

You can sacrifice part of your take-home pay and add it to your super instead. You can set this up through your employer and you may get some tax benefits too.

Non-concessional contributions

These are super contributions that you’ve already paid tax on. These are also known as after-tax contributions. Examples of non-concessional contributions include:

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Government co-contributions

Put some extra money into your super and the government could chip in too. Find out if you are eligible for government co-contributions on the ATO website.

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Spouse contributions

Your spouse can top up your UniSuper account at any time by making an after-tax contribution on your behalf. Learn more about spouse contributions.

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Personal contributions

These are contributions you can make to your super balance that are in addition to those made by your employer.

Other ways to boost your super

Give your super the best opportunity to grow with these other methods for boosting your super:

Default member contributions

Get to know how these contributions work for Defined Benefit Division and Accumulation 2 members.

Low Income Super Tax Offset

Boost your super with up to $500 from the government thanks to the Low Income Super Tax Offset (LISTO). Find out more on the ATO website.

Downsizer contributions

Are you thinking about downsizing your family home? You may be able to put money from the sale of your house into superannuation without the usual restrictions.

First Home Super Saver Scheme

Want to use your super to help purchase your first home? Saving through your super instead of the bank means you could save faster.

Contributions limits and regulations

Before making any additional contributions to your super balance, important financial and age considerations need to be made. Find out how to get the best out of your contributions in this section.

Super contributions caps

The ATO places limits on contributions made into super. For the 2023-24 financial year, the super contributions caps limits are:

  • $27,500 annually for concessional contributions, regardless of your age.
  • $110,000 annually for non-concessional contributions. This can be increased by three times this amount if you meet specific criteria.

Unused concessional contributions from the previous financial years may be able to be carried forward to increase your concessional contribution caps in future years. Find out more about carrying forward unused contribution cap amounts.

For more information about the current limits for concessional and non-concessional contributions visit the ATO’s page on contribution caps.

Age-based considerations

Based on the type of contribution, and if you meet specific eligibility criteria, there may be considerations to make based on your age when you decide to boost your super balance. These include:

  • Non-concessional contributions: members under the age of 75 may be eligible to make contributions of up to three times to annual non-concessional contributions cap in a single year. However, if your total superannuation balance is close to the general transfer balance cap (currently $1.9m as of the 2023-24 financial year) you may only be able to make contributions up to one or two times your annual non-concessional contributions cap. Anyone who has a total super balance of $1.9m or more as at 30 June in the previous financial year has a non-concessional contribution cap of $0.
  • If you’re under 75 years of age you can make contributions to your super fund regardless of type, except for downsizer contributions – which is only available once you reach age 55.
  • If you want to make contributions and you have reached age 75, your fund can accept them in the 28 days after the end of the month you turned 75. If you’re older than 75 (as in 76), this timeframe has already passed. Besides this, your fund can always accept the compulsory employer contributions and downsizer contributions.

Discover more about age-based contribution considerations by viewing the ATO’s page on restrictions to voluntary contributions.

How your super is taxed

Your super is taxed in different ways, depending on where the money came from. Learn how these methods of taxation can impact your super balance.

Super contributions FAQs

  • How much extra should I contribute to my super?

    There is no set amount that Australians should have in their super fund. However, based on figures as at June quarter 2023 determined by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia the average yearly budget for a comfortable lifestyle for singles and couples aged 65-84 is approximately $50,000 and $70,000 respectively. This figure should be factored into your retirement planning and contributions adjusted based on levels of personal comfort.

  • Can I contribute to my super after I retire?

    Yes, you can contribute to your super after retirement. Persons aged between 67 and 74 who’ve recently retired may be able to make further contributions to super, based on meeting specific eligibility criteria.

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