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Topping up your spouse's super

Sharing super between spouses

Did you know that if your spouse is a low-income earner you may be able to top-up their super from your own contributions? There are two ways to do this, known as spouse super contribution and contribution splitting.

What is spouse super contribution?

A spouse super contribution is where you make voluntary payments from your after-tax income into your partner's super account. If your partner hasn't retired and they earn less than $40,000 per year, you may claim an 18% tax offset on the first $3,000 of contributions (to a maximum offset of $540).

You can pay more than $3,000 if you like - up to the normal after-tax contribution cap of $110,000 - but your tax offset doesn't increase beyond $540.

How does super spouse contribution work?

To make a spouse super contribution, you simply need to follow these three steps:

  1. check the eligibility to claim a tax offset
  2. transfer money into your spouse's super account in one of three ways:
    • single contribution via BPay®
    • regular direct debit, by filling out the spouse contribution form and sending it to us
    • cheque, accompanied by a completed spouse contribution form (Note: If you pay by direct debit, you don't need to fill out the spouse contribution form.)
  3. fill out the spouse contribution details in the relevant section of your tax return.

What are the eligibility criteria for claiming a spouse contribution tax offset?

In order to claim the tax offset, you must be able to show that:

  • your spouse (married or de facto partner) earns less than $40,000 per year including employer super, or is not working at all
  • your spouse's total super balance is under $1.7 million
  • both you and your spouse are Australian residents
  • your spouse has not exceeded their after-tax contribution cap ($110,000)
  • you haven't already claimed a tax deduction for the contribution.

There are also age criteria, and these have recently changed.

  • before 1 July 2022, your partner must be either under 67 years of age, or between 67 and 74 and meet the 'work test' or 'work test exemptions' requirements
  • from 1 July 2022, your partner just needs to be under 75, as the work test will no longer apply.

What is contribution splitting?

Contribution splitting is where you ask Prime Super to direct some of your before-tax super contributions from last year, into your spouse's super fund. You can split any type of before-tax super, including contributions from salary sacrifice, the 'contribute and claim' process or from your employer's super guarantee contributions.

The split doesn't need to be equal, but the most you can contribute to your spouse each year is 85% of your total before-tax contributions from the previous year. Your spouse must not be retired.

How does spouse contribution splitting work?

To set up spouse contribution splitting, you need to:

  1. fill out the spouse contribution splitting form and send it to us.
  2. have a before-tax contribution made to your super via:
    a. employers' superannuation guarantee
    b. salary sacrifice
    c. contribute and claim system

Then Prime Super will transfer the requested sum or percentage of your super into your partner's super fund. If your spouse has retired early and you're not sure if they're eligible, give Prime Super a call on 1800 675 839.

6 different ways to contribute