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Salary sacrificing your super

Contributing extra to your superannuation is a good way to boost your retirement funds.

One of the ways you can add more to your super is through salary sacrificing. Salary sacrifice is an arrangement with your employer to forego part of your salary or wages in return for your employer providing benefits of a similar value.

Salary sacrificing your super means your employer will redirect some of your salary or wages into your super fund instead of to you.

These salary sacrifice contributions are taxed at a maximum rate of 15 per cent, which is generally less than your marginal tax rate. The sacrificed amount will not be considered a fringe benefit if the super contributions are made to a complying super fund.

There is no limit to the amount you can salary sacrifice (provided there are no limitations in your terms of employment); however, you must be wary of the concessional (before-tax) contribution cap. If you go over the cap, you may have to pay additional tax.

Keep in mind, the salary sacrificed amounts count towards your concessional contributions cap, in addition to your employer’s contributions (i.e. compulsory employer contributions).

Generally, excess contributions will be included as taxable income, taxed at your marginal tax rate plus an excess contributions charge. Note, that your age may affect the concessional contributions cap, how the cap applies and what options you may have.

Individuals should also consider whether the amount sacrificed will attract Division 293 tax. This tax applies when you have an income and concessional super contributions of more than $300,000, or over $250,000 from 1 July 2017. Division 293 tax levies 15 per cent tax on taxable contributions above this threshold.

If you do choose to salary sacrifice into super, remember contributions don’t count when the payment is sent, only when it is received by your fund. Make sure your fund receives all your contributions by 30 June.

Posted on 21 December '16 by , under Super.

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Transition to retirement

The transition to retirement (TTR) strategy allows you to access some of your super while you continue to work.

You are able to use the TTR strategy if you are aged 55 to 60. You can use it to supplement your income if you reduce your work hours or boost your super and save on tax while you keep working full time.

  • Starting a TTR pension: To start your TTR pension, transfer some of your super to an account-based pension. You have to keep some money in your super account so that you can continue to receive your employer's compulsory contributions as well as any voluntary contributions you may be making.
  • Government benefits and TTR: The benefits you or your partner receive might be impacted if you choose to opt for this strategy. How and what exactly will change might become clearer upon discussing this with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer.
  • Life insurance and TTR: In some cases, the life insurance cover you have with your super may stop or reduce if you start a TTR pension – check this before making any decisions or changes.

TTR can help ease your mind as you transition into retirement but it can be a bit complex. Before you choose whether you want to use TTR to reduce work hours or save on tax, or even if you want to use TTR altogether, you should figure out how this will impact all aspects of your finances.

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