Super contribution limits

Getting caught out paying too much into super can result in a hefty and unexpected tax bill

Getting caught out paying too much into super can result in a hefty and unexpected tax bill at the end of the financial year. With all the changes to legislation which are being rolled out, it can be difficult to know if you’re paying too much, so here’s a simple guide.

Concessional contribution limits

Individuals can contribute up to $25,000 of concessional super contributions (where a special tax rate is applied) in the financial year 2012/13. This includes super contribution guarantee paid by an employer and any amounts which you salary sacrifice. From 1 July 2012, the additional concessional contributions which enabled those over 50 to pay up to $50,000 per annum have been removed. $25,000 is the limit which applies to all.

Find out more about concessional contribution limits from  

Non-concessional contribution limits

Contributions to which no tax deduction is claimed, i.e. paid from after-tax salary, also have a limit. For the financial year 2012/13, this limit is $150,000. If you are under 65, you are able to ‘bring-forward’ your non-concessional contributions by three years. For example, should you come into a lump sum this year, you could pay up to $450,000 in this financial year, but nothing for the next two.

Find out more about non-concessional contribution limits from  

Super co-contribution

In order to help Australians increase their super balance, the Federal Government will match 50 per cent of contributions made by an individual up to $500. Income limits apply and if you earn less than $31,920 you may be eligible to receive the full contribution amount. For every dollar you earn over this amount, up to $46,920 the co-contribution is reduced by 3.333 cents. These figures are for financial year 2012/13.

Find out more about super co-contribution limits from

Low income super contribution

In the 2012/13 tax year, the Federal Government will make a super contribution tax payment of up to $500 annually for low income earners The payment amount will be 15 per cent of concessional contributions (including employer contributions) made by or for individuals with an adjusted taxable income which does not exceed $37,000.

Find out more about the low income super contribution from  


    To make a comment, please register or login
    28th Sep 2012
    Phillip Haines. September 28 2012.
    Re Concessional contributions; tell me about it, back in 2007-08 I made a contribution of $88K
    the limit back then was $100K. In my tax return for that year I claimed a deduction for a personal contribution (the $88K ). In may 2009 I had a call from the ATO telling me I had made excess contributions of $77K. I immediatly contacted my Super fund to tell them the situation and how could this be. I was advised by the superfund not to worry as there was an error in the reporting and this was being resolved with the ATO. The verbal advice was confirmed in a letter from my super fund telling me to do nothing. I have never, to date, received any further communication from the superfund regarding "the error in reporting"
    Later in that year I received a tax bill for $24K from the ATO.
    It would seem that the payment of $88K was reported by my superfund as an Employer Contribution, I contacted both ATO and my superfund to say that it was a personal contribution providing them with the bank transaction and other related correspondence. At that time I was self employed (a Sole Trader). As far as the ATO are concerned they have two records for a payment of $88k; 1 from the Super fund recorded as an employer contribution and then my claim for a personal contribution in my tax return for 2007-08 (the same contribution). They advise me that the only way the situation can be changed is for the superfund to change their report of the payment I made from an "Employer contribution" to a personal contribution. To date the superfund say they cannot do this.I have gone to the Super fund complaints tribunal and am currently awaiting a hearing with the tribunal Review board.All parties acknowlege that only one (1) payment of $88K was made to the superfund. I have accumulated considerable costs trying to resolve this and both my wife and I have lost many hours of sleep plus the ongoing worry associated with debt hanging over my head.
    The above is a brief explanation of my situation but covers the basics, one lesson learnt is never to have faith in "the system". It looks as if I will end up paying tax on excess contributions that I never made. I feel very alone when looking for understanding.

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