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Boost your spouse’s super with some help from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
If your spouse is earning a low income or not working, you can add money to their super account and boost their retirement savings. In addition, you may be eligible to receive a tax offset, which could lower your own tax.1
The intention of the tax offset is to assist couples to support each other in saving for retirement.
If your spouse earns less than $40,0002 a year you may be eligible for a tax offset of up to $540.
A spouse includes someone with whom you are in a registered relationship, or someone you are living with on a genuine domestic basis (including same sex relationships).
Under current tax rules, you may be able to claim a tax offset of up to 18% on the first $3,000 (so, a maximum of $540) you pay into your spouse’s superannuation account as an after-tax contribution for the corresponding financial year.
You can claim the maximum tax offset of $540 if:
The tax offset amount reduces when your spouse's income is greater than $37,000 and completely phases out when your spouse’s income reaches $40,000.
The amount you can claim depends on how much they earn:
Steven and Amy are in a de facto relationship.
Steven, 30, works as a teacher and earns $75,000 annually. Amy, 28, works casually and earns $37,000 a year.
Steven has decided to contribute $120 a fortnight from after-tax money into Amy's super account ($3,120 a year). Because Amy is a low-income earner, the first $3,000 of Steven's spouse contribution qualifies for the maximum tax offset of 18%. Steven receives the full tax offset, reducing the tax payable on his income by $540 for the financial year in which the contribution was made.3
If you want to make contributions for your spouse, there are a few requirements at the time you make the contribution:
Your spouse must be under age 67 (or meet the work test or work test exemption if they are aged 67 up to 75)
Your contribution must be from after-tax dollars, and not as an employer or from a trust
You and your spouse must not be living separately or apart on a permanent basis
Your spouse must provide their tax file number
You and your spouse must be Australian residents.
You aren't eligible to claim this tax offset if:
Your spouse has exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap for the financial year
Your spouse's superannuation balance is $1.6 million or more on 30 June of the previous financial year in which the contribution was made. This figure is set to rise to $1.7 million on 1 July 2021.
To claim your Spouse Contribution Tax Offset, simply make sure QSuper has your Tax File Number (TFN) and your spouse’s TFN, and lodge your tax return as you would normally.
Be sure to complete the 'superannuation contributions on behalf of your spouse' question in the supplementary section of your tax return.
You also need to complete 'spouse details' – married or de facto – in your tax return.
You may need to consult your accountant or the ATO if you need help with this.
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*Deciding what is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances and you may want to seek personal financial advice to get the most from your superannuation. You can find out more about financial advice options at qsuper.qld.gov.au/advice
1. Australian Tax Office, Tax offset for super contributions on behalf of your spouse, accessed 2 March 2021, at ato.gov.au
2. Earnings are defined as the sum of your spouse's assessable income (disregarding your spouse's FHSS released amount for the income year), total reportable fringe benefits amounts and reportable employer super contributions.
3. Case study provided for illustrative purposes only and assumes all eligibility criteria/conditions are met.
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