Spouse contributions

Read about the potential tax benefits of making super contributions to your spouse’s super.

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Spouse contributions

A spouse contribution is an after-tax (voluntary) contribution made to your spouse’s super account. Spouse contributions build up your super as a couple and can be tax-effective. By making a contribution to your spouse’s super, not only are you helping them – if your partner earns less than $40,000 a year you could be eligible for a tax offset (up to $540). It’s a great way to make sure that one partner’s super doesn’t suffer if they are working reduced hours, on parental leave, or unable to work.

How to make a spouse contribution

Your spouse will need to be a legalsuper member before they can receive contributions made by you. You must complete and return the spouse contribution form to legalsuper with each spouse contribution made.

Claiming a tax offset for a spouse contribution

A tax offset of up to $540 may be available for up to $3,000 of superannuation contributions made by a taxpayer on behalf of a non-working or low-income spouse. The spouse contributions offset cannot be claimed for contributions split from your account to your spouse’s account. The offset can be claimed through the completion of the T3 section of your tax return. For more information, refer to the ATO page.

Eligibility

Not everyone is eligible to make a spouse contribution or to receive the tax offset. To be entitled to the spouse contributions tax offset. The basic criteria are:

  • you must make a contribution to your spouse’s super using after-tax dollars, which you haven’t claimed as a tax deduction
  • you must be married or in a de facto relationship
  • you must both be Australian residents
  • your spouse is under age 75;
  • the receiving spouse’s income must be $37,000 or less for you to qualify for the full tax offset and less than $40,000 for you to receive a partial tax offset.

Eligibility in detail

The offset is available to a person where:

  • the person has a spouse;
  •  the person makes after-tax (ie. not salary sacrifice) contributions on behalf of their spouse ;
  • the contributions are not tax-deductible for the person contributing;
  • both the person contributing and the spouse are Australian residents when the contribution is made;
  • at the time the contribution is made, the person contributing and the spouse must not have been living separately and apart on a permanent basis; and
  • the spouse’s total income (including assessable income, reportable fringe benefits and salary sacrifice amounts) is less than $40,000.

The person making the contributions:

  • can be any age;
  • cannot be the employer of the receiving spouse;
  • must be an Australian resident to be able to claim a tax offset; and
  • must be receiving assessable income (from any source).

The receiving spouse:

  • is under age 75; and
  • is an Australian resident; and
  • has supplied a valid TFN;

The spouse of a person includes:

  • another person (of any gender) with whom the person is in a relationship that is registered under state law or territory law; or
  • another person  (of any gender) who, although not legally married to the person, lives with the person on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

Preservation:

  • if the receiving spouse has never been employed, then any benefits arising from spouse contributions are generally preserved until age 65. 
  • if the receiving spouse has been employed, then any benefits arising from spouse contributions are generally preserved. 
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Are you married or in a de facto relationship?

There are considerations that you and your spouse should make.
Find out more