Carry-forward concessional contributions – an under-utilised superannuation contribution strategy.
There are many who don’t know how catch-up contributions work and others who don’t even know it exists; but, the benefits can often mean tens-of-thousands of dollars in tax-savings.
This article explains what carry-forward concessional contributions are, how to calculate the carry-forward amounts, the carry-forward start date and any age limits associated.
What Are Carry Forward Concessional Contributions?
Carry-forward concessional contributions are portions of your concessional contribution cap that were not used in previous financial years and may be able to be used in the current financial year.
Also often referred to as catch-up concessional contributions, carry-forward unused concessional contributions allow you to catch-up on the deductible contributions that you are eligible to make into superannuation.
Carry-Forward Concessional Contribution Rules
The carry-forward rule allows you to carry-forward unused amounts of your concessional contribution cap for up to five financial years on a rolling basis, commencing from the 2018/19 financial year.
All or some of the carry-forward amount can be used, in addition to the general $27,500, during the current financial year, provided your total superannuation balance was below $500,000 on 30 June of the preceding financial year.
While under age 75, there is no restriction on utilising unused carry-forward contribution amounts. However, if you are aged between 67 and 75, you will need to satisfy the superannuation work test (or work test exemption) in order to make personal concessional contributions.
Carry-Forward Unused Concessional Contribution Example
As an example, let’s say that you had a superannuation balance of $400,000 on 30 June 2023 and the current financial year is 2023/24. Your concessional contributions since the 2018/19 financial year (when the carry-forward rule began) were as follows:
|Financial Year||General Concessional Contribution Cap||Actual Concessional Contributions Made|
Because your superannuation balance was below $500,000 on 30 June of the most recent financial year, you are eligible to carry-forward the unused amounts from previous years (up to a maximum of 5 years beginning 2018/19) and make catch-up contributions in this year.
Therefore, your unused amount of $15,000 in 2018/19; $10,000 in 2019/20; $10,000 in 2020/21; $10,000 in 2021/22 and $5,000 in 2022/23, totalling $50,000, can be added to the current 2023/24 year cap of $27,500, meaning you can contribute total concessional contributions to super of $77,500 in the current financial year. Remembering that concessional contributions include employer contributions, salary sacrifice and personal concessional contributions.
Now, even though that’s what you are able to contribute, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The amount, if any, of carry-forward contributions that you should use in any given year will depend on your specific circumstances and your taxable income for the year.
Here’s an example of how this could reduce your personal income tax if you earned a salary of $100,000 for the year.
|2022/23||No Additional Concessionals||With Additional Concessionals|
|Maximum Additional Concessional Contributions (B)||$0||$66,500^|
|Assessable Income (A-B)||$100,000||$33,500|
|Income Tax Payable (C)||$24,967||$2,877|
|Contributions Tax @ 15% (D)*||$0||$9,975|
|Total Tax Payable (C + D)||$24,967||$12,852|
|Benefit Of Additional Concessionals||$12,115|
^Assumes you are receiving employer contributions of 11% ($11,000).
While implementing a contribution strategy that takes advantage of unused contributions can be done without advice, it can often go wrong in ways that can’t be undone. Save yourself the headache and frustration by seeking professional financial advice regarding this strategy.
Every single day we are advising our clients to take advantage of the carry-forward rule to capitalise on these huge tax savings. You can see how the benefits of personal advice can quickly outweigh the costs.
Benefits of Using Carry-Forward Concessional Contributions
There are a number of benefits to using carry-forward concessional contributions, including (but not limited to):
- The amount contributed to super as a salary sacrifice or personal concessional contribution will reduce your personal taxable income by an equivalent amount, usually resulting in less personal income taxes.
- You are increasing your retirement savings and the amount you have invested in the tax-effective superannuation environment, where tax on super earnings is at a maximum of 15%.
- Carry-forward concessional contributions can reduce capital gains tax (CGT) in a year that you sell an investment in your personal name.
- You can implement a transition to retirement strategy.
Risks of Using Carry-Forward Concessional Contributions
While there are a number of benefits associated with catch-up concessional contributions, you should also be aware of the risks and disadvantages, including (but not limited to):
- All concessional contributions incur contributions tax of 15% (30% for very high income earners).
- If contributions tax is greater than your individual tax rate, then a non-concessional contribution might be more appropriate, rather than a concessional contribution.
- Any amount contributed to superannuation is inaccessible until you meet a superannuation condition of release, such as retirement or attaining age 65.
- Any amount contributed to super will likely be invested and therefore subject to capital fluctuations and market volatility.
- Exceeding the concessional contribution cap could result in excess contributions tax.
Should I Use Carry-Forward Unused Concessional Contributions?
You should only use carry-forward unused concessional contributions if the additional contributions that you intend on making will reduce your overall tax by more than the tax you would pay had you not made the contribution. However, while the reduction in tax might be a financially quantifiable reason as to why you would use the carry-forward rule, other factors such as accessibility, investment timeframes and cash flow management should be considered when deciding how much to contribute.
Our financial planning firm, Toro Wealth, specialises solely in helping 50 to 70 year-olds optimise their financial position in the lead up to retirement. If you’re interested in learning more about our service and cost, click here.
Articles You Might Also Like:
- Superannuation Advice: Your Guide to Everything Super
- Super Concessional Contributions
- Non-Concessional Contributions Super
- INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT ACT 1997 – SECT 291.20 Your excess concessional contributions for a financial year 2017, Austlii.edu.au, viewed 29 March 2023, <http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/itaa1997240/s291.20.html>.
- Super contributions – too much can mean extra tax 2022, Ato.gov.au, viewed 29 March 2023, <https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/in-detail/growing-your-super/super-contributions—too-much-can-mean-extra-tax/?page=3#Carryforwardunusedconcessionalcontributi>.