Your comprehensive guide to superannuation contributions and cap

Superannuation is a retirement saving system introduced by the Australian Labor Government in 1992; it forces employers to make consistent contributions to a fund on their employees behalf. Continue reading this Legal Kitz blog to find out more about superannuation contributions and cap.

What is the superannuation system?

The rationale for introducing the superannuation system was to encourage workers to save for their retirement so they would be less reliant on the government-funded age pension system. Under the current superannuation system, 10% of an employee’s wage is automatically set aside to their chosen superannuation fund, all of which have varying return rates. Employees may choose to contribute additional money to their fund. Superannuation funds are owned and managed by various organisations, including banks, insurance companies and superannuation companies. These super organisations invest contributions made to them and use generated returns to pay out retirement benefits to their members. When an employee reaches retirement age or satisfies other eligibility criteria, they may access their superannuation as a lump sum, regular income or a combination of the two. Super can also be accessed before an employee’s retirement if specific circumstantial criteria are met.

When can an employee access their superannuation?

Employees are only allowed to access the contents of their superannuation fund before they retire in specific circumstances. The most common circumstance in which this applies is severe financial hardship. Less common instances in which early release is possible are in the case of a terminal illness, permanent incapacity and compassionate grounds such as paying for medical treatment. Withdrawing superannuation funds must not be done sparingly as it could result in reduced retirement savings or potential tax consequences; a financial advisor should be consulted before making a decision to access super.

What is the maximum superannuation cap?

The maximum amount someone can contribute to their superannuation in Australia per financial year is $27,500. This total is subject to change according to changes in government policy and an individual’s age or earnings.

Financial implications of the superannuation system

The superannuation system can have several financial implications for individuals, employers, and the broader economy. Here are a few examples:

  1. Retirement savings: The primary purpose of the superannuation system is to help individuals save for retirement. By contributing a portion of their income into a superannuation fund, individuals can build up a pool of savings that can provide them with an income in retirement.
  2. Tax benefits: Superannuation contributions are generally taxed at a lower rate than other forms of income, which can provide individuals with tax benefits. Additionally, earnings on superannuation investments are generally taxed at a lower rate than other types of investments.
  3. Reduced reliance on government support: By encouraging individuals to save for retirement, the superannuation system can reduce dependence on government support programs such as the Age Pension.
  4. Costs to employers: Employers must contribute a portion of their employees’ salaries into a superannuation fund, which can be a high cost for businesses.
  5. Impact on the economy: The superannuation system can positively impact the broader economy by encouraging savings and investment. However, some argue that the system can also lead to reduced consumer spending, as individuals may choose to save more for their retirement.

New superannuation change in 2025

In February 2023, the government announced that employees with superannuation balances over $3 million would be subjected to a higher tax rate of 30%. This rule will not affect Australians until 2025.

Average superannuation balance in Australia

As of June 2021, the average superannuation balance in Australia was approximately $123,000 for men and $86,000 for women, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA). However, it’s important to note that these figures vary significantly by age, gender, occupation, and other factors. Additionally, many Australians have multiple superannuation accounts or may have low or no super balances, particularly among younger or lower-income workers. It’s important for individuals to regularly review and consolidate their superannuation accounts to ensure they are on track for a comfortable retirement.

Legal advice

If you require further assistance or advice regarding the superannuation and how it may affect your financial position, feel free to contact Legal Kitz. To request a FREE 30-minute consultation with one of our highly experienced solicitors, contact us at info@legalkitz.com.au or 1300 988 954. You can also visit our sister company – Business Kitz’s Subscriptions, to access our full range of legal, commercial and employment document templates to begin your business with a solid foundation that ensures compliance.