#293 Super changes you should know about

11 May 2021

There are some important changes coming to superannuation and they could have a major impact on your personal finances.

1. Rising contribution rates
As of 1 July 2021, the employer super contribution rate will increase from 9.5% to 10%. The rate will rise again by 0.5% each year until it reaches a 12% contribution rate on 1 July 2025. While these super rate increases have generated a measure of political controversy, in our view it is unlikely they will be repealed.

2. Concessional versus non-concessional super contributions
Concessional contributions are taxed at a flat rate of 15% once they arrive in your super account. A non-concessional contribution is ‘after-tax’ money put into super with no tax deduction claimed. 

Types of concessional superannuation contributions include:

3. Rising non-concessional contribution rates
The cap on non-concessional super contributions is also scheduled to rise by 10% from the current $100,000 per year limit to $110,000 per year. A non-concessional contribution is extra money put into super after tax for which no deduction is claimed.

4. Increase to the non-concessional balance limit
The total superannuation balance limit for non-concessional contributions will increase through indexation on 1 July 2021 from $1.6 million to $1.7 million. 
This means if the total worth of your super portfolio is less than $1.6 million ($1.7 after 1 July 2021), you can make non-concessional contributions to your fund. This increase in the ‘total superannuation balance limit’ will also increase eligibility for the spouse tax offset and the government co-contribution.

5. Bring forward more
Superannuation account holders under 65 years with a total balance of less than $1.7 million will be able to make three years’ worth of non-concessional contributions in a single year. With the non-concessional limit increasing to $110,000 per year, it will become possible to ‘bring forward’ up to $330,000 in non-concessional super contributions over a single year. In the case of couples, you can double that amount for a total of $660,000. Also, legislation currently before the Australian Parliament would increase that age limit to 67 years of age.

6. Carry forward unused super contribution caps
As of 1 July 2018, any concessional superannuation contribution caps that you haven’t utilised over the 18/19 and 19/20 financial years can be used to ‘catch up’ and be carried forward to your current year’s concessional super cap. 

Isabella has a total superannuation balance of $248,000. She’s made the following superannuation contributions over the past two years:

Contribution example  

Financial year Used cap Available 'catch up' amount
2018/2019  $15,000 $10,000
2019/2020  $20,000 $5,000

Therefore, in the 20/21 financial year, Isabella has available as a catch up superannuation contribution of:

*Not including any unused cap for the 20/21 financial year.

7. Moving more into tax-free pensions
The ‘transfer balance cap’ that limits the amount of super you can transfer into the tax-free pension phase will increase on 1 July 2021 by $100,000 to a total of $1.7 million. This increase won’t apply to those who have already accessed the existing cap of $1.6 million. The new increased $1.7 million cap, however, will apply to anyone who hasn’t yet drawn a pension from their super. Anybody who has commenced drawing a pension from their superannuation, but hasn’t accessed the full amount of the cap, will receive a proportional increase to their transfer balance cap.


8. Defined benefit pensioners
Some defined benefit pensions qualify as capped defined benefit income streams. This framework limits the amount of tax-free income a pensioner can receive, and it may reduce the entitlement to the 10% offset on any untaxed element. For these defined benefit pensioners, their income cap will rise on 1 July 2021 from $100,000 to $106,250. This may generate a small increase in pension payments as the amount of tax withheld by the defined benefit super fund is reduced.

9. The end of COVID-19 tax relief
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the minimum annual pension payment that account-based pension holders were obligated to take was cut by 50%. As of 1 July 2021, those payment levels will revert to pre-COVID-19 levels:

Pre-COVID-19 levels:


Vanessa Smith BBus (Acc), CFP®,  Adv Dip FS (FP), Cert IV FMB         
Senior Consultant
Bongiorno Group

Anthony S. Bongiorno BCom, DipFP, CFP®, FIPA, CTA, SSA™, Cert.IV FMB
Senior Director and Founding Partner
Bongiorno Group 

For further information or to book an exclusive AMA Victoria member complimentary meeting, please phone (03) 9863 3111 or email amav@bongiorno.com.au 

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