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Claiming Personal Super Contributions on Your Tax Return


Most Australians know that super is money for retirement. What is less well known is that you don’t solely have to rely on your bosses’ contributions to grow your super savings. What is better still, the money you add to your or your spouse’s super from your own pocket (post-tax) can be tax deductible. 

What is a Personal Super Contribution? 

A personal super contribution is a contribution that you make to your super fund ‘after-tax’. This should not be confused with pre-tax contributions your employer makes or that your salary sacrifices into your fund. We are only talking about after-tax super contributions here. 

Not so long ago, you needed to be self-employed to claim personal super contributions on your tax. But that all changed from 1 July 2017. These days you may be able to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions even if you are a salary employee. But there are a few points to note. 

What is a Spouses Contribution? 

Under current taxation rules, you may be able to claim an eighteen percent tax offset on super contributions up to $3,000 that you make on behalf of your non-working or low-income-earning partner (married or de facto). Your spouse must not have exceeded their non-concessional contribution cap for that financial year and the contribution is not deductible to you. 

How to make a personal or spouses’ super contribution 

Making a tax-deductible contribution into your fund is easy. You can do it as a bill payment from your everyday bank account. Check you have the right BPAY details for your fund and allow a few days before 30 June for the money to reach your super account. 

Another option is to speak with your employer and ask them to do it for you. Similar to a salary sacrifice arrangement (where an employer pays an extra amount of your pre-tax income to your super), many will do the same with post-tax income. 

The most important thing to remember is that the contributions must be post-tax if you want to claim them as a deduction on your return. 

How does tax deductible super work on my return? 

There are two important steps to claim a personal super contribution on your tax return. 

  • Get in touch with your super fund and tell them you want to claim a deduction for your personal superannuation contributions, AND
  • Make sure you get a reply from them BEFORE you lodge your tax return.

Once you hear back from the fund, you can lodge your return. At item D12, Personal Superannuation Contributions you enter the amount you wish to claim as a deduction on your return. 

In regard to your spouse’s contribution, if your spouse receives $37,000 or less in the total of assessable income, fringe benefits and employer super contributions, then you can then access the maximum tax offset of $540, provided an after-tax contribution of at least $3,000 is made. The tax offset is then progressively reduced until the tax offset reaches zero for your spouses who earn $40,000 or more in the total of assessable income, fringe benefits and employer super contributions in that year. 

Important Note: There are limits to how much super you can claim. 

In the ATO’s eyes, the above process effectively converts an ‘after-tax’ super contribution to a ‘before tax’ super contribution. This is important to note. 

Up to $25,000 can be added to your super each year in ‘before-tax’ or concessional contributions before a higher tax rate applies. They usually consist of: 

  • Your employers’ mandatory contributions (minimum 9.5% of your salary), and
  • Your pre-tax or salary sacrifice contributions.

Plus, they also include any after-tax contributions you intend to claim a deduction on. 

As an example: If your boss has already paid $20,000 into your super, you can claim up to $5,000 in personal contributions in the current financial year. 

Under the new single touch payroll system, you can see how much has been added to your super at any stage through your MyGov account. 

You will also need to meet a work test if you are aged 65 to 74 years old. That means working for at least 40 hours in a consecutive 30-day period each financial year. 

Putting it all together 

We will say Sue works as a shop manager. She earns a salary of $45,000, and so far, this financial year her boss has paid $4,275 into her super fund. Sue has also salary sacrificed $50 per week pre-tax into her fund. ($50 x 52 weeks = $2,600). That’s a total of $6,875 for the year. 

(This is well below the $25,000 annual limit so Sue has plenty of room to add to her fund.) 

Sue has some extra savings and decides to add $3,000 into her super account before 30 June. She’s already paid tax on that money, so it’s considered a personal superannuation contribution. 

Prior to lodging her return Sue lets her fund know that she plans to claim the $3,000 personal contribution on her tax return. She receives a letter back from her super fund to acknowledge her intention to claim the deduction. 

At item D12, Personal Superannuation Contributions on her tax return, Sue claims a $3,000 tax deduction. It’s an easy way to save on tax and help build money for her future. 

Now Sue has also paid $3,000 into her spouses Nell’s superannuation fund. Because Nell’s assessable income below $38,000, Sue can claim the $540 tax offset at item T3 Superannuation contribution on behalf of spouse.