As part of your retirement planning, it’s a good idea to know what your options are and how you can maximise any opportunities in super. A good place to start is to know what your total super balance is and how much you can contribute to your super.
Your total super balance can impact future contributions and eligibility for certain super benefits. In this article, we explain the value of your SASS benefit included in your total super balance.
Your total super balance for a financial year is the current value of your money in the superannuation system at the assessment date, which is 30 June of the previous financial year.
- All accumulation or pre-retirement superannuation accounts including defined benefit.
- Retirement phase accounts such as a retirement income account.
- Any funds that are in the process of being transferred from one superannuation account to another (known as in-transit rollovers).
- It excludes any structured settlement contributions resulting from personal injury compensation.
Your super fund reports the value of your superannuation benefit to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and the ATO determines your total super balance.
As a SASS member, the value included in your total super balance will vary depending on your type of benefit and your age. The general principle is that it’s the maximum lump sum benefit you are entitled to if you withdraw your benefit as a lump sum on 30 June of the previous financial year.
If you’re a contributing or deferred* member and haven’t reached your scheme’s earliest retirement age** and your preservation age, the withdrawal value of your SASS benefit plus the value of the Superannuation Authorities Non-Contributory Scheme (SANCS) benefit will be included in your total super balance.
If you’re a contributing or deferred^ member and you have reached your scheme’s earliest retirement age, then your retirement benefit plus your SANCS benefit will be the value used, whether or not you have reached your preservation age.
Your total superannuation balance is important because it’s used to determine:
- Your eligibility to make after-tax contributions. Once your total super balance reaches $1.9 million you can no longer make after-tax contributions to superannuation without incurring a penalty.
- Your eligibility to make additional after-tax contributions to super above the annual cap.
If you’re under 75 and your total super balance is below $1.68 million, the bring-forward rule allows you to make up to three years’ worth of after-tax (non-concessional) contributions in one financial year, which represents the annual cap over a three year period.
If you have between $1.68 million and less than $1.79 million, the bring-forward rule allows you to make two years’ worth of after-tax contributions in one financial year.
If your total super balance is between $1.79 million and less than $1.9 million, you’re restricted to the current year’s after-tax (non-concessional) contributions cap.
Eligibility for the government co-contribution
The government co-contribution is an additional contribution to super to help eligible people boost their retirement savings. If you're a low or middle-income earner and make personal (after-tax) contributions to your super fund, the government also makes a contribution up to a maximum amount of $500.
To be eligible, your total super balance must be below $1.9 million, and you must meet the other eligibility requirements to receive a co-contribution.
Ability to make before-tax (concessional) contributions to super
You have the ability to carry forward any unused portion of the concessional contribution cap for up to five financial years, provided your total super balance is below $500,000 and you meet the other eligibility requirements.
Eligible to make a spouse contribution and receive a tax offset
A spouse contribution allows you to make an after-tax contribution to your spouse’s super and receive a tax offset if they earn less than $40,000.
If your spouse earns less than $37,000, the maximum offset is $540 or 18% when you make an after-tax (non-concessional) contribution of $3,000 to their super.
The receiving spouse must have a total super balance below $1.9 million and meet the other eligibility requirements for the contributor to be able to make a spouse contribution and claim the offset.
* Includes standard SASS deferred members, crystallised members & SES deferred (elected) members who are under preservation age.
** Scheme’s earliest retirement age (55 or 58) shown on annual statement.
^ Includes standard SASS deferred members, crystallised members & SES deferred (election) who are over preservation age.