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Maximum super contributions

How to maximise your super without going over the limits

Adding to your super through voluntary contributions can help grow your retirement savings, however, if you add too much in a single financial year, you may be penalised. That's why it's important to know the various caps on how much you can contribute, and what's counted towards those limits. Remember to talk to an accountant to find out about your tax implications.

How much can I contribute to super?

The amount you can contribute to super will vary depending on how you make your contributions. Generally, you can make both before-tax and after-tax contributions, and you can do so in different ways and in different combinations to maximise the benefits.

There is no minimum amount you need to contribute, but here are maximum limits.

What is the maximum super contribution?

The maximum super contribution you can make to your super depends on what type of contribution you're making.

  2023-24 2024-25
Maximum before-tax contribution
(salary sacrifice, 'contribute and claim' and employer contributions)
$27,500*  $27,500*
Maximum after-tax contribution
(paid from your bank account)
$110,000**  $110,000**
Maximum after tax for co-contribution benefit cap1
(Australian Government co-contribution scheme)
$1,000  $1,000
Maximum spouse contribution benefit cap2
(Paying into the super account of your partner)
$3,000  $3,000
Maximum downsizer contribution
(Special conditions for retirees who are selling their home)
$300,000 $300,000 

Note:
Before-tax contributions are also called 'concessional contributions'.
After-tax contributions are also called 'non-concessional contributions'.

*You can carry forward unused caps from previous years.  Eligibility criteria apply.

**You can bring forward up to $330,000. Eligibility criteria apply.

1this is the minimum contribution amount that attracts the maximum co-contribution

2this is the minimum contribution amount that attracts the maximum spouse contribution tax offset

What is the maximum salary sacrifice?

Salary sacrifice is a before-tax contribution, so the maximum salary sacrifice is $27,500 per financial year, but remember, this cap also includes any contributions your employer has made to your superannuation. Therefore, the actual cap for salary sacrifice is $27,500 minus all employer contributions for that year.

What are the age limits for super contributions?

Before-tax contribution Not over 75 (For over 67s a work test applies where you contribute and claim)
After-tax contribution Not over 75
Co-contribution Not over 71 at the end of the financial year
Spouse contribution Not over 75
Downsizer contribution No age limit
Employer contributions No age limit

What if I exceed the contribution cap?

If your contributions result in you exceeding any of the contributions caps, you should not apply to Prime Super to release money. You simply wait for the ATO to send you a determination letter, notifying you of your excess amount and the options available to you. 

To find out more about exceeding the contributions caps, visit the ATO website.

Which is which?

The carry forward rule is used for before-tax ('concessional') contributions.
The bring forward rule is used for after tax ('non-concessional') contributions.

What are the penalties for excess contributions?

If you go over either the concessional or non-concessional caps, and you can't use the carry forward or bring forward rules, then the ATO could send you a letter detailing how much you have exceeded the cap by, and what you can do to rectify it.

To find out more about exceeding the contributions cap, visit the ATO website.

What is the carry forward rule?

The carry forward rule allows you to increase this year's before-tax contribution limit by 'carrying forward' or rolling over unused portions of your limits from previous years and adding them to this year's cap. The unused portion, however, must only be from within the last five years, and your super balance must be less than $500,000.

Can I bring forward non-concessional contributions?

You can bring forward non-concessional (i.e. after-tax contributions) from future years to increase the caps under certain circumstances:

  • you must be under 75 years of age
  • your super balance must be less than $1.79 million
  • If your super balance is less than $1.68 million, you can contribute $330,000
  • if your super balance is $1.68 million or more, but less than $1.79 million, then you can bring forward two years of caps to a maximum of $220,000.

Can I bring forward concessional contributions?

No. You can only add unused limits from previous years to your current caps, and this is called carrying forward.

What's the difference between the carry forward rule and the bring forward rule?

The carry forward rule only applies to before-tax contributions and relates to rolling over portions of unused limits from previous years into this financial year. You can carry forward unused limits from up to five years ago.

The bring forward rule on the other hand, applies to after-tax contributions, and brings your future limits forward, so that you can use them earlier. How much you can bring forward and from when will depend on your super balance.

6 different ways to contribute