2019-05-29T16:44:20.012+10:00 There are requirements and age restrictions you’ll want to be across if you’re looking to boost your super.

Superannuation contribution rules when you are 65 and over

Superannuation contribution rules when you are 65 and over

Superannuation contribution rules when you are 65 and over

There are requirements and age restrictions you’ll want to be across if you’re looking to boost your super

If you’re 65 or over, you can typically get full access to the funds in your super. But you may not be ready to retire just yet, or you could be looking to make voluntary contributions towards your retirement plan. The superannuation rules for over 65s vary based on the different types of contributions you make, so it’s helpful to get familiar with these.

If you’re working, the superannuation rules for employer contributions remain the same—you can continue to build your superannuation with compulsory employer contributions (using the Super Guarantee rate, if you are eligible).

If you’re considering voluntary super contributions through salary sacrifice (where you choose to contribute a portion of your pre-tax income to be paid into your super), or after-tax superannuation contributions (such as cash from an inheritance or property), you must be under 75 years of age and meet specific work test requirements.

Once you reach age 75, you’re generally ineligible to make voluntary contributions into your super (except for downsizer contributions).

What is the work test?

The ‘work test’ is a test that must be met before you’re eligible to make voluntary super contributions, and applies if you’re aged 65 to 74 at the time of your contribution.

If you want to make a voluntary super contribution between 65 to 74 years of age, you must've been gainfully employed (that is, employed or self-employed for gain or reward) during the financial year, for a minimum of 40 hours over a period of no more than 30 consecutive days.

This can be any consecutive 30-day period within the financial year. In other words, it doesn’t have to be in the same month so for example, the 30 days can start in January and end in February. However, you need to have met the work test before being able to make voluntary contributions for that financial year.

Also, you might need to submit a work test declaration form to your super fund before you make any voluntary contributions, to confirm you’ve met the government’s work test requirements.

Work test exemption for recent retirees

From 1 July 2019, if eligible, you may be able to make contributions using the work test exemption for recent retirees. This broadly allows people aged 65 to 74, with a total super balance below $300,000, to make voluntary super contributions for 12 months from the end of the financial year in which they last met the work test.

Are there super contribution limits/caps for over 65s?

Making additional super contributions can help you plan for a more comfortable retirement. Like at all other ages, if you’re over 65 years of age, there are caps on the maximum concessional (before income tax) and non-concessional (after income tax) contributions you can make into your super each year.

  • Your concessional contribution cap includes your employer’s contribution (under the Superannuation Guarantee), and voluntary super contributions such as those made under a salary sacrifice arrangement, as well as personal after-tax contributions that you claim a tax deduction on.
  • Your non-concessional contributions cap includes personal after-tax contributions that you don’t claim a tax deduction on.

Contribution caps change depending on your age. The table below gives you a quick overview of how much you can put in each year.

Contribution type

Your age

Contributions cap

Concessional contributions


$25,000 per year

Non-concessional contributions

Under 65

(At 1 July of the financial year in which the contribution is made)

$100,000 per year and up to three years of annual caps ($300,000) under bring-forward rules

Non-concessional contributions

65 or over

(At 1 July of the financial year in which the contribution is made)

$100,000 per year

Important things to keep in mind

  • Penalties and super contributions tax could apply if you exceed the super contribution caps.
  • If you have $1.6 million or more of super assets as at 30 June of the previous financial year, your non-concessional contribution limit is reduced to nil.
  • If you’re Australian and aged 65 or over, it’s possible to make an after-tax ‘downsizer’ contribution to your super of up to $300,000, using funds from the sale of your home (see below).

Can I make voluntary super contributions when downsizing?

For many Australians, downsizing is a useful way to free up money for retirement. If you’re aged 65 and over, you can take the proceeds from the sale of your home and make a voluntary ‘downsizer’ contribution of up to $300,000 towards your super.

You can make this contribution regardless of your work status, super balance or personal contributions history. If you’re downsizing with your spouse, you’re both eligible, so you can contribute a combined amount of up to $600,000 toward super.

What are the superannuation rules for over 65s who are downsizing?

When you’re downsizing, you can put the proceeds from the sale of your home into your super. This is in addition to any other contributions you’re eligible to make (including voluntary or employer contributions).

  • The contracts for sale must be exchanged on or after 1 July 2018.
  • You must be age 65 or more when you make the contribution.
  • The property that’s sold needs to have been your (or your spouse’s) main place of residence at some point in time.
  • You or your spouse need to have owned the home for at least 10 years.
  • The property that’s sold must be in Australia and excludes caravans, mobile homes and houseboats.

Important things to keep in mind

  • Your downsizer contributions aren’t tax deductible.
  • There aren’t any special Centrelink means test exemptions that apply to the downsizing contribution, which means it may be wise to consider the effects on your means testing before selling your home.
  • You’ll need to fill out a Downsizer contribution into super form from the Australian Taxation Office, and submit it to your super fund.

Can I go back to work if I’ve already accessed my super?

04 Jun 2019

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