Superannuation contributions work test to be repealed from 1 July 2022

The superannuation contributions work test exemption will be repealed for voluntary non-concessional and salary sacrificed contributions for those aged 67 to 74 from 1 July 2022.

As a result, individuals under age 75 will be allowed to make or receive non-concessional (including under the bring-forward rule) or salary sacrifice contributions from 1 July 2022 without meeting the work test, subject to existing contribution caps. However, individuals aged 67 to 74 years will still have to meet the work test to make personal deductible contributions.

Currently, individuals aged 67 to 74 years can only make voluntary contributions (both concessional and non-concessional), or receive contributions from their spouse, if they work at least 40 hours in any 30-day period in the financial year in which the contributions are made (the “work test”). The work test age threshold previously increased from 65 to 67 from 1 July 2020 as part of the 2019–2020 Budget.

Non-concessional contributions and bring-forward

The Government confirmed that individuals under age 75 will be able to access the non-concessional bring forward arrangement (ie three times the annual non-concessional cap over three years), subject to meeting the relevant eligibility criteria. However, we note that the Government is still yet to legislate its 2019–2020 Budget proposal to extend the bring-forward age limit so that anyone under age 67 can access the bring-forward rule from 1 July 2020. The proposed legislation for the 2019–2020 Budget measure is yet to be passed by the Senate.

The Government also noted that the existing restriction on non-concessional contributions will continue to apply for people with total superannuation balances above $1.6 million ($1.7 million from 2021–2022).

Downsizer contributions eligibility age reduced to 60

The minimum eligibility age to make downsizer contributions into superannuation will be lowered to age 60 (down from age 65) from 1 July 2022.

The proposed reduction in the eligibility age will mean that individuals aged 60 or over can make an additional non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling their home. Either the individual or their spouse must have owned the home for 10 years.

The maximum downsizer contribution is $300,000 per contributor ($600,000 for a couple), although the entire contribution must come from the capital proceeds of the sale price. As under the current rules, a downsizer contribution must be made within 90 days after the home changes ownership (generally the date of settlement).

Downsizer contributions are an important consideration for senior Australians nearing retirement as they do not count towards an individual’s non-concessional contributions cap and are exempt from the contribution rules. They are also exempt from the restrictions on non-concessional contributions for people with total superannuation balances above $1.6 million ($1.7 million from 2021–2022). People with balances over the transfer balance cap ($1.7 million from 2021–2022) can also make a downsizer contribution; however, the downsizer amount will count towards that cap when savings are converted to the retirement phase.

First Home Super Scheme to be extended for withdrawals up to $50,000

The Budget confirmed that the maximum amount of voluntary superannuation contributions that can be released under the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme will be increased from $30,000 to $50,000. The Treasurer previously announced this measure on 8 May 2021.

Voluntary contributions made from 1 July 2017 up to the existing limit of $15,000 per year will count towards the total amount able to be released (which includes voluntary concessional and non-concessional contributions).

Currently, the FHSS scheme allows for future voluntary contributions up to $15,000 per year (and $30,000 in total) to be withdrawn for a first home purchase. To be eligible, a person must be 18 years or over, have not used the FHSS scheme before, and have never owned real property in Australia. Withdrawals of eligible FHSS contributions (and associated earnings) are taxed at the individual’s marginal rate less a 30% tax offset. Effectively, the scheme provides a 15% tax saving on money channeled via super for a first home purchase.