Are you eligible to add to your super and how much can you contribute? Read about the contribution caps, the work test and downsizing.
The contribution cap is the limit on how much you can add to your super each financial year. The cap amount depends on your age, balance and what types of contributions are made; after-tax or before-tax.
There are some additional rules which can give you some extra flexibility, depending on your age, balance and working situation.
The below information describes the contributions caps and tax rates for the 2021/22 financial year.
Total Superannuation Balance
Your Total Superannuation Balance, as defined by the Australian Tax Office, is generally the total amount you have across all superannuation accounts, including pension accounts, other super funds and SMSFs. This is reduced by the sum of any personal injury or structured settlement amounts paid to your super.
If your Total Superannuation Balance is:
• equal to or over the general Transfer Balance Cap ($1.6 million in 2020/2021 and $1.7 million in 2021/22) at the end of 30 June of the previous financial year, you will not be able to make any further non-concessional contributions in the financial year (without exceeding your non-concessional contributions cap); or
• less than the general Transfer Balance Cap at the end of 30 June of the previous financial year, you may make after-tax contributions but your Total Superannuation Balance will determine how much you can contribute.
For further information on the Transfer Balance Cap, please refer to the ATO website (ato.gov.au) or speak to your financial adviser regarding your individual circumstances.
Before-tax (concessional) contributions cap
Before-tax contributions include employer contributions (Super Guarantee), salary sacrifice amounts and personal contributions that you claim as a tax deduction.
If you have more than one super account, all concessional contributions made to all of your accounts are added together and count towards the cap.
|Age||balance||2020/21 annual cap||2021/22 annual cap|
|All ages||Any balance||$25,000|
+ carry forward rule
+ carry forward rule
What happens if I go over the before-tax cap?
Excess concessional contributions made from 1 July 2021 are taxed at your marginal tax rate, with a 15% tax offset for contributions you've already paid tax on.
What should I do if I have exceeded the cap?
If you think you may go over your concessional contributions cap in the current financial year, it’s important to take action, to reduce the extra tax you may have to pay. The first step is to stop or reduce any further concessional contributions (like salary sacrifice payments) if you can, or to delay until the next financial year any personal super contributions you intend to claim as a tax deduction.
It’s also a good idea to confirm with your employer when the electronic payment of contributions (e.g. salary sacrifice and SG amounts) will be made to your super fund, so you know when it will hit your super account.
Carry forward rule
You can ‘carry forward’ your unused before-tax contributions from previous years (from 1 July 2018) enabling you to use any of your unused concessional (before-tax) contributions cap on a rolling five-year basis. The first year in which you can increase your concessional contributions cap by the amount of unused cap is 2019–20.
Your Total Superannuation Balance must be less than $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year to carry-forward your unused cap.
Unused amounts are available on a rolling basis for five years and will expire after that.
Karla had $100,000 in her super account as at 30 June 2018. During 2018/19 $10,000 in before-tax (concessional) contributions were paid to her super account.
As a result, in the 2019/20 tax year, she can contribute $40,000 in before-tax contributions into her account. This is comprised of the unused caps in the 2018/19 tax year and the $25,000 concessional contribution cap for the 2019/20 tax year.
After-tax (non-concessional) contributions cap
After-tax contributions are typically extra, voluntary contributions you make from your bank account. These include any personal contributions you make which you don’t claim as a tax deduction and any spouse contributions you make directly into your spouse’s super account.
Not everyone is eligible to make after-tax contributions to super. Eligibility depends on your age, balance and working status.
|Age||Conditions||Annual non-concessional contributions cap 2021/22||Can I use the Bring forward rule?*|
|Under age 67||My Total Superannuation Balance is under $1.7 million||$110,000||Yes|
|Under age 67||My Total Superannuation Balance is $1.7 million or more||Nil||No|
|I am age 67-74|
I have met the Work Test; and
My Total Superannuation Balance is under $1.7 million
|I am age 67-74|
I do not meet the Work Test in the current financial year;
I met the Work Test last financial year;
My Total Superannuation Balance was less than $300,000 at the end of the last financial year; and
I have not used the Work Test Exemption to make contributions previously.
|I am age 67-74^|
• I do not meet the Work Test this year; and
• I did not meet the Work Test last financial year
|I am age 75 or older||Nil||No|
*Refer to information about the Bring forward rule in the section below.
^In the May 2021 Federal Budget, the Government announced it planned to repeal the current work test for making super contributions for people aged between 67 and 74. This change is not yet law, but is expected to apply from 1 July 2022.
Bring forward rule
The bring forward rule allows you to bring forward your contributions cap (or limits) from future years and use them in a shorter time period.
You can make non-concessional contributions of up to three times the annual non-concessional contributions cap in a single year by bringing forward your non-concessional contributions cap for a two or three-year period.
You can Bring forward your cap either all at once or as several contributions.
To access the non-concessional bring-forward arrangement for 2021/22, you must:
- be under 67 years of age for one day during the triggering year (the first year); and
- have a Total Superannuation Balance of less than $1.6 million at the end of 30 June 2021.
The table below explains how the bring-forward arrangement works for the 2021/22 financial year:
|Total superannuation balance on 30 June 2021||Maximum non-concessional contributions cap for the first year||Bring-forward period|
|Less than $1.48 million||$330,000||3 years|
|$1.48 million to less than $1.59 million||$220,000||2 years|
|$1.59 million to less than $1.7 million||$110,000||No bring-forward period, general non-concessional contributions cap applies|
|$1.7 million or more||Nil||Not applicable|
Brian is aged 52 and his total superannuation balance as at 30 June 2021 was $650,000. In August 2021, Brian made a non-concessional contribution into his super account of $300,000.
The bring-forward rule was triggered when Brian exceeded his normal annual non-concessional contributions cap of $110,000.
As such, Brian can make a further non-concessional contribution of up to $30,000 in the three-year period from 2021/2022 - 2023/2024, if he wishes to use up his full $330,000 three-year cap.
In the 2024/2025 financial year, Brian's non-concessional contributions cap will be reset, and he can make further non-concessional contributions up to the normal annual contributions cap. Subject to his balance at 30 June 2024, he could utilise the bring forward rule again.
Note: If you trigger the bring-forward rule in a particular year, any change to the non-concessional contributions cap during the following three-year period will not apply to you, so you are unable to take advantage of any increase (or decrease) in the contributions cap.
Work test & exemption
Once you reach age 67, putting extra money into your super account becomes more difficult as you need to prove you are gainfully employed, which means satisfying the superannuation work test.
The super work test and the work test exemption can be a little tricky to understand, so here’s a simple guide to the key points.
What is the work test?
If you’re aged 67 to 74 you need to be 'gainfully employed' before your super fund will accept your personal contributions. This is referred to as the superannuation work test.
However; if you can’t meet the conditions of the work test, there is a one-off work test exemption for recent retirees. The exemption allows recent retirees with a Total superannuation balance of less than $300,00 to make a super contribution.
Are you gainfully employed?
According to the ATO, 'gainful employment' means you are employed or self-employed and being paid for it. It doesn't matter what type of work it is, as long as it is remunerated through a salary, business income, bonus or commission. The employment needs to be fully documented and declared for income tax purposes.
Unpaid volunteering or charity work is not considered gainful employment as you are not paid for your work.
You need to have worked at least 40 hours within any 30 consecutive days for that financial year before your super fund can accept after-tax contributions from you.
Note: Where an employer is receiving the JobKeeper wage subsidy for an individual, the individual is assessed as gainfully employed for the purpose of the Work Test. All members in receipt of the JobKeeper subsidy satisfy the Work Test for the purpose of voluntary superannuation contributions.
How to prove you meet the work test
Before we're able to accept a contribution, we require you to submit a declaration confirming that you are employed. You can do this by calling us on 1800 060 312, or completing and returning the employment questionnaire form below.Employment questionnaire (66.8 KB)
Work test exemption
If you're aged 67 -74, you can make voluntary super contributions for one more year after you stop working.
From 1 July 2019 the government introduced an exemption from the work test for voluntary super contributions made in the first income year after you retire. The exemption is designed to allow recent retirees more time to get their affairs in order as they prepare for retirement.
To qualify for the work test exemption, you must have:
- Satisfied the work test in the financial year preceding the year in which you make the contribution
- A Total superannuation balance of less than $300,000 (this is your balance at 30 June of the previous financial year. You're not required to remain under the balance cap for the whole 12-month period)
- Not previously used the work test exemption. If you use the exemption to make a contribution and later return to work, you can’t use it again when you retire.
Contributions from downsizing
If you're 65 years old or older* and meet eligibility requirements, you may be able to choose to make a downsizer contribution into your legalsuper account of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling your home.
Existing contribution caps and restrictions will not apply to the downsizer contributions in the year in which the downsizer contributions are made, but the $1.7 million Transfer Balance Cap and Age Pensions means test will continue to apply and it will count towards total superannuation balance tests in later years.
You can only make downsizing contributions from the sale of one home and both members of a couple may take advantage of it. Other eligibility requirements apply.
Downsizer contributions are not tax deductible and will be taken into account for determining eligibility for the age pension.
*In the May 2021 Federal Budget, the Government announced it planned to reduce the eligibility age for downsizer contributions from 65 to 60. This change is not yet law but is expected to apply from 1 July 2022.