Superannuation pension phase: $1.6 million transfer balance cap for retirement accounts

From 1 July 2017, the Government proposes to introduce a transfer balance cap of $1.6 million on the total amount of accumulated superannuation an individual can transfer into a tax-free “retirement account“ (also known as retirement phase or pension phase). Subsequent earnings on these pension transfer balances will not be restricted.

This transfer balance cap for amounts transferred into pension phase is intended to limit the extent to which the tax-free benefits of retirement phase accounts can be used for tax and estate planning.



Non-concessional contributions: $500,000 lifetime cap from Budget night

A lifetime non-concessional contributions cap of $500,000 is effective from 7.30 pm (AEST) on 3 May 2016. The lifetime non-concessional cap (indexed) will replace the existing cap of up to $180,000 per year (or $540,000 every three years under the bring-forward rule for individuals under 65).

The $500,000 lifetime cap will take into account all non-concessional contributions made on or after 1 July 2007. Contributions made before 7.30 pm AEST on 3 May 2016 cannot result in an excess of the lifetime cap. However, excess non-concessional contributions made after commencement will need to be removed or be subject to penalty tax. The cap will be indexed to average weekly ordinary time earnings (AWOTE).



Concessional contributions cap cut to $25,000 from 1 July 2017

The annual concessional contributions cap will be reduced to $25,000 for all individuals, regardless of age, from 1 July 2017. The cap will be indexed in line with wages growth.

The concessional contributions cap is currently set for the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 income years at $30,000 for those under age 49 on 30 June of the previous income year (or $35,000 for those aged 49 or over on 30 June of the previous income year).

Members of defined benefit schemes will be permitted to make concessional contributions to accumulation schemes. However, the $25,000 cap will be reduced by the amount of their “notional contributions”.



Concessional contributions catch-up for account balances under $500,000

From 1 July 2017, individuals with a superannuation balance less than $500,000 will be allowed to make additional concessional contributions for “unused cap amounts” where they have not reached the concessional contributions cap in previous years. Unused cap amounts will be carried forward on a rolling basis for five consecutive years. Only unused amounts accrued from 1 July 2017 will be available to carry forward. The measure will also apply to members of defined benefit schemes.



Superannuation contributions tax (extra 15%) for incomes $250,001+

The income threshold above which the additional 15% Div 293 tax cuts in for superannuation concessional contributions will be reduced from $300,000 to $250,000 from 1 July 2017.

Currently, individuals above the high income threshold of $300,000 are subject to an additional 15% Div 293 tax on their “low tax contributions” (essentially concessional contributions), effectively doubling the contributions tax rate for concessional contributions.

The extra 15% Div 293 tax does not apply to concessional contributions which exceed an individual’s concessional contributions cap (proposed to be set at $25,000 for all taxpayers from 1 July 2017). Such excess concessional contributions are effectively taxed at the individual’s marginal tax rate. The maximum amount of Div 293 tax payable each year will be limited to $3,750 (ie 15% of the $25,000 cap) from 1 July 2017.



Tax deductions for personal super contributions extended

From 1 July 2017, all individuals up to age 75 will be eligible to claim an income tax deduction for personal super contributions. This effectively allows all individuals, regardless of their employment circumstances, to make concessional super contributions up to the concessional cap.

To access the tax deduction, individuals must lodge a notice of intention to claim the deduction (generally before they lodge their income tax return) with their super fund or retirement savings provider. Individuals will be able to choose how much of their contributions to deduct.

Individuals that are members of certain prescribed funds would not be entitled to deduct contributions to those schemes.



Important: This is not advice. Clients should not act solely on the basis of the material contained in this Bulletin. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice per se. Also changes in legislation may occur quickly. We therefore recommend that our formal advice be sought before acting in any of the areas. The Bulletin is issued as a helpful guide to clients and for their private information. Therefore it should be regarded as confidential and not be made available to any person without our prior approval.


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