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Spouse super contributions

Spouse super contributions allow you to help grow your partner’s super balance and also save a bit of money on tax.

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You can contribute to your spouse's super or split some of your own super contributions with them to help boost their balance. This could be a good option if your spouse is working reduced hours, unemployed, a low-income earner or taking time out of the workforce to raise children.

What are spouse super contributions?

There are 2 ways to add to your spouse's super. You can make a contribution into your spouse's super fund from your post-tax income or you can split your own pre-tax super contributions with them.

Both options allow you to add money into your spouse's super fund to help boost their balance while they may not be receiving super contributions themselves.

Option 1: Superannuation splitting with your spouse

You can choose to split your employer and personal concessional contributions (including salary sacrifice contributions) with your spouse after the contributions have been added to your fund. This option doesn't include non-concessional contributions, which are contributions you make to your super from your post-tax income.

If you choose to split your super contributions with your spouse, it'll be done in the financial year after you've made the contributions into your own fund. For example, if your employer paid you $15,000 in super guarantee contributions during the 2020/21 financial year, you can choose to split this up into your spouses' fund in the 2021/22 financial year.

Super splitting limits

The contributions you're able to split with your spouse are your concessional contributions, which are capped at $27,500 per year. This includes the money your employer pays you under the super guarantee, as well as any additional contributions you choose to make via salary sacrifice or which you're claiming a tax deduction for.

You can split up to 85% of your concessional contributions for the year with your spouse. So let's say your employer paid you $10,000 in super payments and you salary sacrificed an extra $5,000 yourself. You'd be able to split up to 85% of $15,000 with your spouse in the following financial year, which is $12,750.

Of course you don't need to split the full 85% with your spouse, this is just the maximum. Or, if you make sure to reach your full concessional balance cap for the year of $27,500, you'd be able to split up to $23,375 into your spouse's super fund the following financial year.

Super splitting eligibility

You can only split your super contributions with your spouse. The ATO considers this to be someone you're either legally married to or in a de facto relationship with.

Your spouse must be less than their preservation age (check your preservation age) or if they're between their preservation age and 65 they can't be retired. You can't split your super contributions with your spouse if they're over 65.

How to split your super contributions

To split your super contributions with your spouse:

1: Check with your fund whether or not it allows for contribution splitting.

2: If it does, submit a contribution splitting request form with your fund requesting how much you'd like to split into your spouse's fund.

Option 2: Spouse super contributions

You can also choose to make a contribution to your spouse's super fund from your post-tax income (this is the money that's in your bank account that you're charged income tax on). Rather than making the contribution into your own fund first then splitting it with your spouse, this option allows you to add money from your bank account directly into your spouse's super fund.

Spouse super contribution limits and eligibility

You can only contribute to your spouse's super if they're earning less than $40,000 for the financial year. This option is designed to help people boost their spouse's super balance while they might be unemployed, not working much or earning a low income.

You and your spouse must be Australian residents and you need to be legally married or in a de facto relationship. If you're legally married but live permanently apart, you won't be eligible to make a spouse contribution under this scheme.

Spouse contribution tax offset

When you make a contribution to your spouse's super you may be eligible to claim a tax offset for this money. If they're earning less than $37,000 for the financial year, you can claim an 18% tax offset capped at $540.

This allows you to contribute up to $3,000 per year into your spouse's fund to access the full tax offset of $540. You can choose to contribute more than this, but you'll only be able to claim a tax offset on the first $3,000.

If your spouse earns more than $37,000 per year, the tax offset you're entitled to will gradually reduce. If they're earring more than $40,000, no tax offset will be available.

How to make a spouse super contribution

To make a spouse super contribution:

1: Get the BPAY or account details for your spouse's super account (this will be available in their app or online portal).

2: Send the money you wish to contribute to their fund using the account details.

3: When lodging your tax return, include your contribution details under the "super contributions" section.

Benefits of spouse super contributions

There are a few benefits of splitting your super with your spouse.

  • Help your spouse grow their super balance while they're not working (for example if they've taken time out of the workforce to raise children) or earning a low income.
  • Help boost your spouse's super balance if they're on a low income or unemployed.
  • Receive a tax offset up to $540 per year.

What to keep in mind when making a spouse contribution

  • You can't take the money back out once you've added it to your spouse's super.
  • You can only split a limited amount in line with the annual contribution caps.
  • To make a contribution from your post-tax income your spouse can't be earning above a certain amount.

FAQs on spouse contributions

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