The ATO has issued guidance to provide information about how the First Home Super Saver and downsizer contribution schemes work.

Raw Pixel - Pexel

On 1 November 2018, the ATO issued Super Guidance Note SPR GN 2018/1 to provide general information about the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme. The guidance note explains who is eligible to use the scheme, the kind of contributions that can be released, how to apply for a FHSS determination and the requirement to purchase a house. Interesting points made in SPR GN 2018/1 include that:

  • an individual who holds real property as the trustee of a trust (including a unit trust or self managed super fund) can qualify for the FHSS scheme;
the eligibility of an individual who is a beneficiary of a trust depends on their particular rights as a beneficiary;
  • before the transfer of a deceased person’s property, the beneficiary of the deceased estate can apply for a FHSS determination; and
  • contributions that are ineligible for release include amounts contributed to superannuation as part of the CGT small business concessions.
Financial hardship Although the FHSS scheme is targeted at people who wish to buy or build their first home, others who do not satisfy the first home requirement may qualify for the scheme if they are suffering financial hardship. They will first need to apply to the ATO for a financial hardship determination. The guidance note lists examples of the types of events the ATO will consider to determine whether the financial hardship requirement is met. These include employment loss, natural disaster, bankruptcy, illness, divorce and eligibility for early access to super. Crucially, the person needs to demonstrate a link between the event and the loss of the person’s property interest.