If you have more than $1.6 million in super, presently you might find that you are unable to make any further after-tax contributions (non-concessional contributions) into your super.
This cap limit is based on a per person limit and was introduced as a result of the government’s idea of restricting how much one person can have in their super at retirement at a reduced tax rate of 0%.
In essence, if you have $1.6 million in super and are drawing an income stream, you might find that this is taxed at a 0% tax rate on any income, capital gains or earnings within the super fund. Any amounts that sit above this limit of $1.6 million could be taxed at 15%.
This legislation was introduced to target people who normally squirrel away larger amounts into super in the lead-up to retirement.
We often find a lot of people who are 50 years or older naturally start to think about super and retirement, and tend to stuff larger amounts into their super in the lead-up. This legislation acts as a natural headwind to this late ‘mercy dash’ towards retirement saving.
So, what can be done about this limit if you find you are hitting the $1.6 million brick wall?
Here are a couple of suggestions:
- The cap relates to $1.6 million per person, so if you have a partner who sits under this cap you could simply push some of your funds over to them. To do this, however, a range of complexities must be considered to see if you can step through this door.
- Starting early can help, too. If you think about how much you will put into super over your working life, for most of us there is a ‘bulge’ at the end, due to rapid savings that take place in the years approaching retirement. By smoothing the contribution amounts over a longer time, it allows you to maximise the power of compounding this capital. Simply by starting contributions earlier could allow you to smash through the $1.6 million cap limit without breaking a sweat. Of course, before you jump into this option you need to consider the trade-offs, such as less access to capital or paying off your mortgage sooner.
These are just a couple of options we look at when coming up against this problem. We often use a range of other solutions for clients who are contemplating this issue.
Like any tax problem, remember what Kerry Packer famously said:
“I am not evading tax in any way, shape or form. Now of course I am minimizing my tax and if anybody in this country doesn’t minimize their tax they want their head read. As a government I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be paying extra.”
Unlike the complex tax problems of a billionaire such as the late Kerry Packer, however, this strategy is fairly simple in comparison: to simply achieve the objective of eliminating the possibility of 15% tax being paid on your superannuation.
Like any great investment or retirement planning strategy, before you jump in and try to do this yourself, please seek professional guidance from a suitably qualified financial planner and, of course, I recommend AJ Financial Planning.