Navigating the rules and regulations regarding super contributions can be confusing (to say the least).
To help you figure out what is the maximum super contribution for 2022 and beyond, we put together a comprehensive guide that should help you make sense of it all.
What Is the Maximum Super Contribution for the 2022/23 Financial Year?
As of 1 July 2022, under the new super reforms:
- The SG rate increased to 10.50% for the 2022/23 income year;
- The maximum super contribution base increased from $58,920 to $60,220 per quarter;
- The minimum income threshold of $450 for SG contributions was removed, meaning that all employees, regardless of how much they earn, are entitled to receive super contributions from their employers;
- The concessional contributions cap for 2022/23 remains at $27,500;
- The non-concessional cap stands at $110,000 per person;
- Eligible first-time home buyers can access $50,000 of their super funds, an increase of $20,000.
How Much Super Can I Contribute in 2022?
Super contributions fall into two categories: concessional and non-concessional.
Here is a more detailed overview of both, as well as a closer look at the Super Guarantee amount for 2022.
Also known as before-tax contributions, these include employer contributions (Super Guarantee), personal contributions (which you can claim as a tax deduction) and salary sacrifice contributions.
Concessional contributions are taxed at a lower rate of 15%.
Concessional Contributions Cap for 2022/23
The maximum concessional super contribution for the 2022/23 tax year is capped at $27,500 a year, regardless of age.
Bear in mind that if you have more than one super fund, all the concessional contributions made to all your funds will count towards your before-tax contributions limit.
Note: Subsidised administration costs or insurance premiums in your name paid by your employer also count as concessional contributions.
The Carry-Forward Rule
One way to increase your before-tax contributions limit is to utilise the carry forward rule for concessional contributions.
Australians who have a total super balance under $500,000 on June 30 of the previous financial year are entitled to top up their super over the concessional contribution cap with the unused amount from the previous year.
Unused amounts are valid for only five years, after which they expire.
For instance if you received $20,000 in concessional contributions in 2020/21 (when the cap was set at $25,000), you can add the unused $5,000 to the standard contribution cap of $27,500 in any financial year up to 2025/26. However, if your super balance was over $500,000 at 30 June of the previous financial year, the unused contributions do not carry forward.
This rule was implemented on 1 July 2018, which means that the first year in which you could use super catch up contributions was 2019/2020.
What happens if you exceed the concessional contributions cap?
If you go over the concessional contribution cap, the amount, known as excess concessional contributions, will be taxed at your marginal tax rate and you will need to pay interest on concessional-taxed earnings.
The ATO will inform you that you have exceeded the contributions cap by sending a letter (determination) and a notice of assessment.
In this case, you will be faced with two options:
- You can leave the excess contributions in your super fund and pay the extra tax out of pocket.
- You could release the excess amount up to 85% and use it to pay the additional tax charge.
If you fail to pay tax, your excess before-tax contributions will be counted towards your non-concessional max super contribution per year.
Note: Workers who went over the contributions cap before 1 July 2021 also had to pay the excess concessional contributions charge. If you exceed your before-tax contributions limit after 1 July 2021, you are no longer liable to pay the ECC charge.
Also known as voluntary contributions, non-concessional contributions are made to your super from your after-tax income, i.e. money that you or the contributor, for instance, your spouse, have not claimed a tax deduction for.
Non-concessional Contribution Cap 2022/23
The maximum super non-concessional contribution for 2022/2023 is capped at $110,000 per individual.
- You are not eligible to make after-tax contributions if your super balance exceeds $1.7 million at 30 June of the previous financial year. If you make non-concessional contributions beyond that amount, they will be considered as excess after-tax payments to your super and taxed accordingly.
- Taking money out of your super and putting it back later counts as a new NCC (unless you have claimed the amount as a tax deduction).
- If you have more than one super fund, then all your NCCs in all the funds during that financial year count towards the after-tax contributions cap.
What Is the Super Transfer Balance Cap?
This is the rule that limits how much of your super you can transfer from the accumulation phase to the tax-free retirement stage. It includes all your pension accounts.
The super transfer balance cap is set at $1.7 million for the 2022/23 financial year.
So, if you have more than $1.7 million in your super when you retire, the excess amount will not enjoy the same tax benefits as the rest of the money in your account.
If you go over the transfer balance cap before you retire, you will not be eligible for tax offset on spouse contributions, government co-contributions, the bring-forward rule or the after-tax contribution cap.
The Bring Forward Rule
Your non-concessional max super contributions could be higher than $110,000 if you utilise the bring forward rule.
This basically allows you to make up to 3 years of after-tax contributions in a single financial year by bringing forward your non-concessional contributions cap for a two or three-year period (depending on your Total Superannuation Balance). In other words, you can contribute up to $330,000 to your super at any point over a three-year period.
To access the bring-forward arrangements you must be under 75 years of age at any time in the financial year and your Total Superannuation Balance must be lower than the transfer balance cap of $1.7 million.
This is how the bring-forward arrangement looks for the first year, according to the ATO.
What happens if you exceed the non-concessional contribution cap?
Going over the max super contributions cap in a single year automatically triggers the bring-forward arrangement.
However, if you are not eligible to use this rule, you have two options:
- Withdraw the excess contributions and up to 85% of the associated earnings (the latter will be taxed at your marginal tax rate).
- Leave the excess contributions in your fund in which case they will be taxed at the higher marginal rate of 47% (on the entire amount that exceeds the contributions cap of $110,000).
Superannuation Guarantee (SG)
Every employee in Australia over 18 years of age is entitled to receive super, including full-time, part-time and casual workers, as well as temporary residents of the country.
For the 2022/23 financial year, the minimum Superannuation Guarantee percentage, i.e. the compulsory contributions made by your employer in addition to salary, stands at 10.50%, an increase from last year’s 10%.
The Maximum Super Contribution Base
Determined by the Federal Government and rising incrementally each year, the maximum super contribution base is the maximum cap on an employee’s earnings base for each quarter of an income year.
For the 2022/23 financial year, the superannuation maximum contribution base stands at $60,220 per quarter. This means that employers have to pay super contributions equal to 10.5% of $60,220 per quarter (or $240,880 for the 2022/23 tax year). This works out to around $6,323.10 per quarter.
The max employer super contribution should not exceed this limit, i.e. employers are not required to pay SG for any earnings over this cap.
Note: Before 1 July 2022, employees needed to earn $450 a month before tax in order to receive SG contributions.
Other Types of Super Contributions
How do other payments into your super account affect the max super contributions limit?
The maximum superannuation co-contribution for 2022/23 is $500.
The co-contribution entitlement is designed to help lower-income earners boost their retirement savings, so if you are eligible and make personal contributions to your super, the government will pay up to 50 cents for every dollar you add to your super, up to $500.
The amount you receive is determined by your income (the lower income threshold is $42,016 and the higher income threshold is $57,016) and the amount you add to your super balance.
Note: Government co-contributions do not count towards your concessional or non-concessional contribution caps.
Downsizer super contributions
If you are 60 years old and over and sell your home, you can top up your super up to $300,000. Known as the downsizer super contribution, this does not affect your Total Super Balance and it will not count towards your max super contribution per year.
It will, however, impact the transfer balance cap when you move your funds from your accumulation phase to the retirement phase. It will also affect your Age Pension benefits.
Note: If you have already reached the transfer balance cap, this contribution (and all others over the limit) can stay in the super savings phase and be taxed at 15%.
First Home Super Saver Scheme
The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) allows you to withdraw money from your super to buy your first home.
Under the FHSSS, first-time home buyers can release up to $50,000 from their voluntary super contributions and associated earnings. Before 1 July 2022, the maximum amount one could release from their super for the purchase of a first home was $30,000.
However, the max super contributions that you can make towards the FHSS scheme remain at $15,000, up to $30,000 across all years.
Bear in mind that any FHSS payments made to your super, even if they are made solely for the release of funds under the scheme, will count towards your contribution limit.
Super and the Work Test
Employees aged under 75 are no longer required to meet the work test in order to accept voluntary contributions. You will still need to meet the work test, though, if you want to claim a personal super deduction for any contributions paid on or after 1 July 2022.
Before 1 July 2022, those aged between 67 and 74 had to show that they were gainfully employed for at least 40 hours during 30 consecutive days in a financial year if they wanted to make personal super contributions in that income year.
If you are 75 or older your super fund can accept all types of contributions, generally no later than 28 days after the month in which you turn 75.
As mentioned above, max super contributions can be difficult to understand, especially in light of the new changes implemented last month.
Here are a few tips that might help you avoid going over the contribution cap:
- Contributions count in the financial year they were received, not when they were accrued, so it is essential that you talk to your employer or contact your super fund about when the payment was made. Keep in mind that it may take a while for funds to transfer to your super account.
- If in doubt, contact the ATO or your super fund and get updated information on how much you have in your account.
- If you believe that you are nearing the max super contribution per year, contact a financial adviser who can explain all the tax implications and consequences in case you exceed the contribution limits.
1. Can I put more than $25,000 into super?
Yes, in the 2022/23 financial year, the max you can put in your super is $27,500.
2. How much can I salary sacrifice into super in 2022?
The concessional super contributions cap for 2022 is set at $27,500. Concessional contributions include all before-tax payments into your super account, such as employer contributions and salary sacrifice contributions.
3. How long can you carry forward concessional contributions?
Unused contributions can be carried forward up to five years. So, if you have unused contributions in the 2022/23 tax year, you can add that amount to your before-tax contributions any time up to 2027/28.
4. Can I bring-forward my super contributions?
Yes, you could bring forward non-concessional contributions up to 3 times the annual after-tax contributions cap over 3 years. This means you can top up your super with up to $330,000 within three years.
5. What should be your total super balance to be eligible for carry forward concessional contributions?
Your total super balance must not exceed $500,000 by 30 June of the previous tax year if you want to use the carry forward rule.