Now that the coalition has returned to the job of governing the
nation, it is a good opportunity to consider how the superannuation
changes announced on 3 May 2016 in the Federal Budget will impact
Although there have been some reports that there are concerns
within the Liberal party over their superannuation policies it
seems that the policies introduced in the Federal Budget will
proceed as expected.
So what were the key superannuation changes announced in the
2016 Federal Budget?
$500,000 NON-CONCESSIONAL CONTRIBUTION CAP
Currently, non-concessional contributions (i.e. contributions
from after-tax income) are capped at $180,000 per year (or $540,000
under the bring forward rule).
In the Federal Budget the Government announced that they would
introduce a $500,000 lifetime cap on non-concessional
contributions. This will take into account contributions made
from 1 July 2007. However, there will be no
penalty if you have already exceeded this cap by making more than
$500,000 in non-concessional contributions (before 7:30pm AEST on 3
May 2016). Any excess non-concessional contributions made after the
cap commenced will need to be removed to avoid a penalty.
$1.6 MILLION LIMIT
Currently, if your superannuation account is in the retirement
phase, any income earned on your superannuation investments is
Under the Budget measures the Government will place a cap of
$1.6 million on the balance able to be transferred to a retirement
account effective from 1 July 2017. This means that the amount able
to be transferred into a retirement phase superannuation account,
on which income is tax-free, cannot exceed $1.6 million.
The excess (if you are fortunate enough to accumulate more than
$1.6 million in superannuation by the time you retire) will need to
be held in a separate account, on which income will be taxed at 15
per cent. Alternatively, you may invest this excess amount outside
of the superannuation regime.
If you are already in retirement and have a balance in your
retirement phase superannuation account in excess of $1.6 million,
you will need to reduce that balance to $1.6 million by 1 July
You can currently contribute up to a maximum of $35,000 per year
into superannuation at a concessional tax rate (generally 15 per
cent). This includes compulsory superannuation contributions as
well as additional contributions made through salary sacrificing
Under the Budget measures the Government will reduce this to
$25,000 from 1 July 2017. This new limit will apply to everyone
(i.e. there will no longer be a higher cap for over-50s).
The Budget measures also provide for lowering the Division 293
threshold from $300,000 to $250,000. This means that concessional
contributions, when added to your income over $250,000, will be
taxed at 30%.
CATCH-UP SUPERANNUATION CONTRIBUTIONS
Under the Budget measures, from 1 July 2017 the Government will
allow people to catch up on concessional contributions if they do
not reach the proposed $25,000 annual cap (discussed above).
Under this measure the cap would rollover for up to five years
thereby allowing people to contribute up to $125,000 over five
years provided their superannuation balance is below $500,000. This
will be particularly useful for people taking maternity/paternity
leave and others with interrupted work patterns.
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SELF-EMPLOYED AND NON-WAGE EARNERS
Under the Budget measure the Government will allow all
individual contractors to make concessional contributions. Some of
these individuals would not have been able to make concessional
contributions under the existing regime.
TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT INCOME STREAM
People aged between 56 and 64, who are still working, are
currently able to access some of their superannuation early.
Earnings in these transition accounts are currently tax free but
this will change from 1 July 2017. Under the Budget measures
earnings on these transition accounts will be taxed at 15 per cent
(the same as in the accumulation phase).
REMOVAL OF THE WORK TEST FOR OVER-65s
Under the Budget measures the work test for people between 65
and 74 will be removed from 1 July 2017 making it easier for older
Australians to increase their retirement savings.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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