Maternity Leave, Unemployment, Single-Income Families – Why Spousal Contributions Might Be On The Cards
Depending on your relationship, you may have discussed with your partner the prospect of marriage. Or you might be more comfortable remaining in a long-term de facto relationship (especially since many de facto relationships have similar rights as those of a marriage).
You might share a lot of things with your partner (such as a mortgage, a family, or a car), but did you know that you might be able to boost their super for them?
Specifically, if you (or your partner) were unable to work for a length of time, such as during maternity/paternity leave, unemployment or are a single income household, the super fund of the non-working part of the pair might not be increasing. As a result, the retirement savings held in super for one member of these households may not be increasing as exponentially fast as the working member.
The good news is that when in a relationship, a spouse can boost their non-working partner’s super fund with their own contributions. The best part? It could be a tax write-off for the working spouse.
Under Australian superannuation law, a spouse can be a legally married partner with whom you live or your de facto partner. That gives additional benefits to those in de facto relationships, who can choose (if one member of the relationship isn’t working or earns less) to boost their partner’s super fund. A spouse must also be younger than 75 years old when you make the contribution.
One of the primary losses of super gains that can occur is a result of maternal or paternal leave. If you and your spouse are thinking about starting a family and may have to take time off work during the pregnancy, spousal contributions can be a great way to continuously inject funds into super so that the gap from the pause in employment can be mitigated.
If you are looking to help your spouse’s super grow, there are two ways that you can go about it.
- Making a Spouse Contribution to their super account
- Arranging for Contribution Splitting (also known as Super Splitting)
Spouse superannuation contributions can now be made for spouses earning up to $40,000 per year. If a spouse earns less than $37,000, the maximum tax offset of $540 can be claimed when contributing a minimum of $3,000 to their super. Anything contributed that is more than $3 000 will not receive the spouse contribution tax offset.
You will not be able to claim the tax offset if:
- A spouse has exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap for the financial year or,
- Their super balance is $1.6 million (for 2020/21) or more on 30 June of the previous financial year in which the contribution was made.
Another way to inject funds into your spouse’s super is to choose to have some of your own super contributions put into their super account. This is fine as long as they have not reached their preservation age yet, or are between their preservation age and 65 years and not retired.
Super contributions can only be split in the financial year immediately after the year in which the contributions were made or in the same financial year as the contributions were made. This is only if your entire benefit is being withdrawn before the end of that financial year as a rollover, transfer, lump sum or benefit.
Contributions can be split in two different ways.
- Employer contributions – the most common form of super contributions to split
- Personal tax-deductible contributions – money that you deposit into your super and claimed a tax deduction.
Spouse contributions are generally treated differently to contributions your spouse splits with you.
If your spouse makes a contribution for you, it counts towards your non-concessional contributions cap – not your spouse’s contribution caps. If you are currently employed by your spouse, any contributions that they may have made in this role are reported as employer contributions (not spouse). They may also include amounts transferred from your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s FHSA under a family law obligation.
If you are looking into spousal contributions into super, it is best to seek the advice of your financial advisor or superannuation provider, to best determine what path you should take.