Tax may apply to your super in a few ways

You'll usually pay tax on your super contributions, but tax can also apply to your:

  • investment earnings
  • rollovers containing untaxed elements
  • withdrawals.

There are concessions and offsets you may be eligible to receive.

Tax on contributions

Before-tax contributions

These are generally taxed at 15% if you earn less than $250,000.

This tax rate generally applies to up to $25,000 in before-tax contributions each financial year. This is known as the concessional contributions cap.

Any contributions over $25,000 are taxed at your marginal rate at the end of the financial year (less the 15% you’ve already paid). The ATO will also charge you interest.

  • Tax refund for those earning under $37,000
    If you earn under $37,000, the government may refund any tax you’ve paid on contributions (up to $500) into your super under the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset.
  • Tax for those earning over $250,000
    You’ll generally pay an extra 15% tax on some or all your before-tax contributions if your income and super contributions are more than $250,000 a year. The ATO will let you know if you need to pay this tax after you do your tax return each year. See the ATO for more information.
  • Defined Benefit Division members

    Your before-tax contributions include a notional taxable contribution (NTC).

    The NTC is representative of your employer’s contributions in respect to your defined benefit interest and used to determine your concessional contributions. We calculate your NTC using a government-defined formula (not the same as the DBD formula).

    As a result of the factors which make up the formula, NTC amounts are generally lower than your actual employer contributions and any default member contributions you make, so you might be able to contribute more without going over the $25,000 cap.

    The NTC does not include after-tax contributions you have claimed a tax deduction for.

    NTC amounts vary depending on your employer contribution rate. You can check your cap amount in your online account or download the fact sheet related to your membership:

After-tax contributions

You can generally contribute $100,000 a year (or up to $300,000 over three years if you’re eligible) in after-tax contributions without paying any extra tax.

Contributions over these caps are taxed at 47%, but there are things you can do if you go over your cap. See more about contributions caps.

Tax deductions and offsets

Tax on investment earnings

These are usually taxed at 15% for accumulation and transition to retirement pension accounts. The tax is deducted before your earnings are allocated to your account.

Generally, no tax applies to earnings in Flexi Pension accounts.

Tax on withdrawals

If you’re aged 60 or over, you can usually withdraw your super as a lump sum tax-free.

For others, tax may apply depending on your circumstance:

  • If you withdraw a lump sum before you turn 60, you may pay tax on any taxable component of your super.
  • If you’ve reached your preservation age, your first $215,000 is tax-free and the rest is taxed at 17% (including Medicare Levy) or your marginal tax rate, whichever is lower.
  • If you’re under your preservation age you’ll be taxed 22% (including Medicare Levy) or your marginal tax rate, whichever is lower.
  • If you’re claiming the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP), it’s taxed at 35% or 65% if you’re a working holidaymaker. 

Tax may apply to your retirement income stream, so check the relevant product disclosure statement for the details.

document download

For more details about tax and your super, download How your super is taxed (PDF, 496 KB). If you'd prefer to use a form to add your TFN, complete the Tax File Number Collection form (PDF, 78 KB).

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