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First home buyers may be eligible for extra help to enter Australia’s housing market by being able to access up to $50,000 through the First Home Super Saver Scheme.
The maximum amount of voluntary super contributions able to be released under the First Home Super Saver Scheme increased from 1 July 2022 to $50,000 of contributions, plus associated earnings, that eligible aspiring first home buyers may be able to put towards a home deposit.
The Australian Government said at the time it was expanding the First Home Super Saver Scheme to help more young Australians to potentially achieve the dream of home ownership.1
The FHSSS was first announced by the Government in the 2017-18 Federal Budget to reduce pressure on housing affordability.
The scheme aims to help Australians save for a first home using extra voluntary contributions2 into their superannuation fund.
It allows first home buyers to save money for a first home inside their super fund, which aims to help them save faster with the concessional tax treatment of superannuation, according to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).3
If you are eligible, you may be able to release up to $50,000 of contributions from your super towards buying a home.
Since 1 July 2017, you have been able to make voluntary contributions, including concessional (before-tax) and voluntary non-concessional (after-tax) contributions, into your super fund to save for your first home.
There are eligibility requirements you must meet to apply for the release of the money.
It is important to read the detailed facts provided by the ATO before making a decision to utilise your super fund for first home savings.
No. You may still be eligible in limited circumstances even if you have previously owned property in Australia.
When the legislation was first proposed, it was limited to apply only to first home buyers, however it now may also apply if the ATO determines that you have suffered a financial hardship that resulted in a loss of ownership of all property interests.
So, you may be eligible if you’re at least 18 years old, and you:
You can make voluntary contributions into your super fund with the intention of using that money for your home deposit, as either a concessional contribution (before tax) or a non-concessional contribution (after tax).
You have been able to pay the money in since 1 July 2017.
The maximum amount that can be released under the scheme is the sum of your eligible contributions up to a maximum of $50,000, plus deemed associated earnings. This amount includes:
It is important to note that the maximum amount that can be released is not necessarily the actual amount you will receive from the ATO. See ‘‘How can I take the money out’’ below for further information.
You can apply to release your voluntary contributions along with the associated deemed earnings to help you purchase your first home. To withdraw the accumulated funds from your super fund:
Apply to the Commissioner of Taxation for a FHSSS determination and release. You can do this online via your myGov account.
Once you have received your determination, apply to the ATO for a release of your savings.
The ATO will issue a release authority to your super fund/s, who will send the requested release amounts to the ATO.
The ATO will withhold the appropriate amount of tax and offset against any outstanding Commonwealth debts.
The ATO will then send the remaining balance to you.
It’s important to note that the ATO must have released a FHSSS amount to you before you sign a contract to purchase or construct residential premises or you may be liable to pay FHSSS tax.
No. Once you have requested a release you can't request another one, even if you have requested an amount less than your FHSSS maximum release amount.
The FHSSS applies to residential premises – but not houseboats or mobile homes. It could include vacant land if you’re going to build on it, but the land must be capable of being occupied as a residence.
Importantly, you must live there. You must move in as soon as it’s practical and live there for at least six months of the following 12 months. This is to avoid the money being used to buy an investment property.
Under the FHSSS, you have 12 months after releasing the savings to sign a contract. You would also be able to ask the ATO for a 12-month extension.
Under the FHSSS, if you don’t end up buying a qualifying home within the 12-month timeframe, you must either:
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Read our articles
1. Australian Government, Budget 2021-22, 11 May 2021, Budget Paper No. 2, page 17, accessed 26 April 2022.
2. Subject to eligibility and conditions. These contributions must be within existing contribution caps.
3. Australian Taxation Office, modified 25 May 2022, First Home Super Saver Scheme, accessed 8 June 2022 at ato.gov.au
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