How super works

Super is your savings for your future, so it pays to understand how it works and how to get the most out of it.

Super basics

Your employer pays money into a super fund for you and we invest it on your behalf

Super is savings for your retirement and an important part of your financial plan for the future.

Who earns super?

Generally, you earn super if you’re:

  • age 18 years or
  • under age 18 years, and work more than 30 hours in a week.

How much super should I get?

Your employer needs to pay at least 11.5% of your before-tax earnings into a super fund on your behalf. This amount is on top of your earnings and adds to your overall salary. This rate will stay in place until 30 June 2024, then will increase to 12% on 1 July 2025.

Some workplaces may have an agreement in place that provides super contribution rates above the 11.5% minimum.

Test

Example:

You earn $5,000 in a month before tax. Your employer needs to pay an extra 11.5% ($575) into a super fund for you.

How super savings work

While you’re working, your super balance will grow through:

  • contributions from your employer
  • extra amounts you (or your spouse) put into your account
  • any government boosters you’re eligible for
  • transfers from other super funds
  • positive investment returns (money earned on the investments we make on your behalf).

Regular deductions and things that will reduce your super balance are:

  • contributions tax that’s payable when money goes into your super account
  • fees we charge for managing your account
  • insurance fees (if you have cover with us)
  • transfers to other super funds
  • negative investment returns.
Note

A note about investment returns

Investment returns can be positive or negative. Positive returns will make your balance go up. Negative returns will make you balance go down. Over the long term, investment returns should outweigh investment losses. This, along with your regular super contributions, will help your super grow.

Boost your super

You can grow your super faster by paying extra into your super. This can be done directly through personal contributions or through your employer using salary sacrifice. Find out how

Access your super

Super is your savings for retirement, so there are rules about when you can access it. Generally, you can access your super when you stop working and meet a condition of release. You can then choose to have your super paid to you as a regular income or as a lump sum. Find out more.

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Tax benefits of super

Super can be a tax-effective way to invest in your future

How money paid into super is taxed

Before-tax contributions are generally subject to a tax rate of 15%. This is called 'contributions tax'.  Before-tax contributions include super paid by your employer, salary sacrifice amounts, and any personal contributions you claim as a tax deduction.

Test

Example:

Your employer pays $575 into super for you — $86.25 is paid to the ATO as contributions tax and $488.75 goes into your account.

If you earn more than $250,000 in a financial year (including your before-tax super contributions), you may have to pay an extra 15% tax on some or all of your before-tax contributions, as advised by the ATO. 

Generally, you don't pay any tax on after-tax contributions (as you or your spouse already paid income tax on these amounts). After-tax contributions include personal contributions you haven't claimed a tax deduction for, and spouse contributions you've received.

How investment earnings in super are taxed

Your super is invested in one or a mix of investment options with the aim of growing your savings through investment returns.

Investment returns are taxed at up to 15%, depending on which option you're invested in. The actual rate of tax paid may be less due to the effect of various tax credits, deductions and offsets. The amount of tax payable is taken into account when calculating the unit price for each investment option and deducted before the earnings are reflected in your account balance.

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