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Types of caps

Caps apply to before-tax contributions and after-tax contributions. If you go over your cap, you may pay extra tax.

Before-tax contributions cap

You can generally contribute up to $27,500 each financial year.

These contributions are taxed at 15%.

If you earn over $250,000, you may pay an extra 15% tax—so in total, you’ll pay 30% tax on some or all of the contributions.

If you go over the before-tax cap

Any contributions you make over the cap will be taxed at your marginal rate, less a 15% tax rebate. You may also be charged interest.

At the end of the financial year, the ATO will give you the option to :

  • withdraw up to 85% of your excess contributions for the financial year. This doesn’t apply to Defined Benefit Division members.
  • leave your excess contributions in your super. These will then count towards your after-tax contributions cap.

Carry forward unused cap amounts

You may also be able to carry forward unused portions of your before-tax contribution cap over a rolling five-year period. If eligible, you'll need to have:

  • a total super balance of less than $500,000 across all your super accounts (not just your UniSuper account), at 30 June of the previous financial year
  • contributed less than the before-tax contributions cap for one or more of the previous five years, starting from 2018–19.

Visit the ATO website to learn more.

  • About before-tax contributions

    Before-tax contributions are payments made before your income tax is taken out. Also known as salary sacrifice or concessional contributions, they include:

    • super from your employer
    • salary sacrificed contributions
    • notional taxed contributions (for Defined Benefit Division members)
    • personal contributions for which you’ve validly claimed a tax deduction.

    Read more about before-tax contributions

After-tax contributions cap

You can generally contribute up to $110,000 in after-tax contributions each financial year without having to pay extra tax.

Your total super balance, as at 30 June of the previous financial year, must be less than your personal transfer balance cap (currently between $1.6 and $1.7 million depending on your circumstances).

If there are excess before-tax contributions in your super, they count towards your after-tax contributions cap as well.

If you go over the after-tax cap

Any contributions you make over this limit will be taxed at 47%.

If you go over the cap, at the end of the financial year, the ATO will give you the option to:

  • withdraw the amounts over the limit along with 85% of any associated earnings:
  • The associated earnings withdrawn will be taxed at your marginal tax rate.
  • You’ll be entitled to a 15% non-refundable tax offset of the associated earnings.
  • leave your excess contributions in your super. These will be taxed at the highest marginal rate.

Some types of after-tax contributions, like downsizer contributions, aren’t included in the cap. For more information visit the ATO website.

Bring forward unused cap amounts

If you're under 67 and you go over the cap, you may be able to bring forward up to three years of after-tax contributions. The amount you can bring forward depends on your total super balance at 30 June of the previous financial year. The following table represents the bring forward arrangement for a transfer balance cap of $1.7 million.

Bring-forward entitlements for 2021-22 financial year
Total super balance on 30 June 2021 After-tax contributions cap for the first year1 Bring-forward period
Less than $1.48 million $330,000 3 years
$1.48 million to less than $1.59 million $220,000 2 years
$1.59 million to less than $1.7 million $110,000 No bring-forward period, general after-tax (non-concessional) contributions cap applies
$1.7 million and over Nil N/A

 

1Assumes you haven’t triggered the bring-forward rule for the relevant period.
Note that your total super balance and your contributions cap is based on the balances of all your super accounts, not just your UniSuper account.
  • reading icon

    Read the transcript  

    The information contained in this video is of a general nature only and contains general advice. It’s been prepared without taking into account your individual objective, financial situation or needs. Before making any decision about your super you should consider your personal circumstances, the relevant product disclosure statement for your membership category and whether to consult a qualified financial adviser.

    You can access a copy of the product disclosure statement relevant to your membership category by visiting unisuper.com.au/pds.

    This video has been produced by UniSuper Management Ltd. ABN 91 006 961 799. AFSL No. 235907 on behalf of UniSuper Limited, ABN 54 006 027 121 AFSL No. 492806, the Trustee of UniSuper, ABN 91 385 943 850.


    As you may know superannuation is money set aside during your working life to help provide for your retirement. In most cases, your employer is obliged to contribute a fixed amount of money based on your salary, into your superannuation fund.

    But did you know that the amount of super you build up for your retirement is not limited to the compulsory contributions made by your employer.

    You can also make your own voluntary contributions either, on a before-tax or after-tax basis.

    One way to contribute to your super is to have your contributions deducted from your salary before-tax has been deducted under a salary sacrifice arrangement.

    These contributions attract a concessional tax treatment, and are usually taxed at a lower rate than most people's marginal tax rates.

    The government imposes limits called contributions caps on the total amount of contributions you can make each financial year and still receive concessional tax treatment on those contributions.

    If you exceed the caps, you may pay a much higher rate on any contributions that exceed the cap.

    Another great way to contribute to your super is by making contributions from your salary after-tax has been deducted.

    These contributions are known as personal after-tax or non-concessional contributions. These contributions are also capped.

    Before you make any decision about whether or not to make additional contributions into your super, you should talk to a qualified planner and obtain taxation advice from a taxation specialist.

    To learn more about making extra contributions to your super, you may also like to attend a UniSuper seminar.

document download

Learn more in How super is taxed (PDF, 1.1 MB) or visit the ATO website.

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If you have any questions about contributions caps please call 1800 331 685 or contact us.

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