New Super Changes allow system to be future proofed

 In Financial Planning, News

The Government proposed significant changes to the superannuation reforms last October, providing clarity and certainty for people around Superannuation.

As of November, the following changes have been passed and will take effect as of 1st July, 2017. This excludes the catch up contribution limits, which will take effect on 1st July, 2018.

A summary of the reform which has been passed is provided below:

Concessional Contributions

The current $30,000/$35,000 concessional contributions cap will reduce to $25,000 pa regardless of age. This also effects any contributions to defined benefit schemes and constitutionally protected funds (CPFs).

Personal Deductible Superannuation Contributions

All individuals under the age of 75 will be able to claim a tax deduction for personal super contributions up to the new $25k limit.

Important to note however is that for individuals that are over age 65 the 40 hour work test (over a 30 day period) must be met prior to making any personal deductible contributions. This provides a good opportunity for individuals to make additional contributions to super for tax purposes without worrying about work status.

High Income Earners Super Tax

The high income earners ‘super tax’ income threshold will reduce from $300,000 pa, to $250,000 pa

Non-Concessional Contribution Limits

A cap of $100,000 pa per person will apply. If the individual is under age 65 the 3 year bring-forward rule can be utilised, thus contributing up to $300,000 in one year

For the financial year ending 30 June 2017 the current limit of $180,000 per annum, or $540,000 3-year limit, can still be used. In order to access the full $540,000 limit however, the individual must fully utilise this amount this financial year otherwise transitional bring forward rules will apply. If an individual has not fully used their bring-forward limit before 1 July 2017, the remaining bring forward amount will be reassessed to reflect the new annual caps.

If the individual’s super balance is $1.6 million or greater then no further non-concessional contributions can be made. This restriction only applies to non-concessional contributions.

Catch-up Concessional Contributions

A ‘catch up’ concessional contributions measure will be available to allow unused concessional contribution caps to be carried forward on a rolling basis for up to 5 consecutive years where an individual’s account balance is $500,000 or less.

Transition to Retirement (TTR) Pensions

The tax exempt status of earnings supporting a TTR pension will be removed. Earnings within the TTR pension will be taxed at 15%. We recommend those with TTR pensions seek advice to clarify their own position.

Individuals will also no longer be allowed to treat certain income stream payments as lump sums for tax purposes.

Pension Transfer Balance Cap

A $1.6 million transfer balance cap on the total amount of super an individual can transfer into Allocated Pensions will apply. The cap will apply to current retirees and individuals yet to enter retirement.

Individuals in Pension Phase with balances above $1.6m will be required to reduce their balance to the cap by 1 July 2017 by transferring any excess back to accumulation or withdrawing the excess from super. If not transferred, excess tax will be apply at 15% initially and 30% for subsequent breaches of the cap.

We recommend that individuals with Pensions should seek advice regarding any impacts to their position.

The cap will index in increments of $100,000 in line with CPI.

The cap will also impact how superannuation death benefits can be paid as an income stream to certain beneficiaries.

Other

Low Income Super Tax Offset – refund of contributions tax where a person earns less than $37,000pa.

Low Income Spouse Tax Offset – increasing the spouse income threshold to $37,000.

Anti-detriment payments from superannuation death benefits abolished.

 

In a press release Treasurer Morrison stated these measures will ensure that 96% of Australians remain better off or unaffected by the Government’s superannuation reforms “that will introduce greater flexibility and sustainability to our retirement income system.”

Morrison added “While noting that less than 1% of superannuants now reach the proposed transfer balance cap of $1.6 million, these improvements will mean Australia will be given a clear and better opportunity to realise their aspiration to build their balance to their limit of the transfer balance cap.”

 

If you have any queries around the changes or to see how they might affect you personally, please contact our Melbourne office on 03 9866 5888 or Sydney office on 02 8404 6700.

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