What is a spouse super contribution

If your spouse is a low or no-income earner, you can contribute money to their superannuation account. Making a contribution to their super can be an effective way to grow their retirement savings, while reducing your tax.

What is a spouse

A spouse includes someone you are legally married to or in a de facto relationship with (including same sex partners).

Benefits of spouse contributions

  • Support the person who supports you
    If your partner is earning a low income, or has taken time off work to have children, look after loved ones, or just have a break, it can be difficult for them to build up their retirement savings. By making an after-tax contribution, you're helping them grow their superannuation balance.
  • Pay less tax
    If you make after-tax contributions to your spouse's super and they earn less than $40,0001 a year, you may be able to claim a tax offset of up to $540.

How the spouse super tax offset works

Under the 2019-20 tax rules, on the first $3,000 you pay into your spouse’s superannuation account as an after-tax contribution, you may be able to claim a tax offset of up to 18% (so, a maximum of $540). You don't receive the spouse contribution tax offset for payments above $3,000.

The amount you can claim depends on how much they earn annually:

Spouse income Tax offset on a $3,000 contribution
$37,000 $540
$38,000 $360
$39,000 $180
$40,000 $0

How to make a spouse super contribution

If your spouse is a QSuper member, you can either:

If you spouse is not with QSuper, you can make spouse contributions to their existing super account, or they can easily join QSuper online.

How to claim your spouse contribution tax offset

To claim your spouse contribution tax offset, make sure QSuper has your tax file number (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 your spouse's details, and whether you are married or de facto in your tax return.

Case study Young couple looking at each other

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 into Amy's super account ($3,120 a year). Because Amy is a low-income earner, the first $3,000 of Steven's contribution qualifies for the maximum tax offset of 18%. Steven receives the full tax offset, reducing the tax payable on his income by $540.

What else to consider

If you want to make contributions for your spouse, there are a few requirements you must satisfy:

  • Your spouse must be under age 65 (or meet the work test or work test exemption if they are aged 65 to 69).
  • Your contribution must be from after-tax dollars, and not from an employer or a trust.
  • You and your spouse must not be living separately on a permanent basis.
  • Your spouse must provide their TFN to their super fund.
  • 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 (for 2019-20) or more on 30 June of the previous financial year in which the contribution was made.

You can also split your eligible contributions with your spouse, and transfer part or all of your contributions into their QSuper account from your Accumulation account.