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Super Insider podcast: Episode 19

How to save tax using your super

11 April 2024

Get ready for the end of the financial year with Super Insider. Host Anne Fuchs and guest Steven Fehring share some great ways you could grow your super and save on tax. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll learn:

  • why putting money into super could help you pay less tax
  • what salary is sacrifice and how it works
  • how to claim a tax deduction on personal super contributions

Remember, the more you know about super, the more you can plan for your future. Subscribe to Super Insider now.


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Anne: Hello and welcome to Super Insider, where we chat to you about all things you need to know to make the most of your super. My name is Anne Fuchs and I'm the Executive General Manager of Advice, Guidance and Education at Australian Retirement Trust.

Now, before we begin, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and waters where we’re recording this podcast today. And it's really important to remind you also that what we're discussing is general advice only, and you'll need to decide if it's right for you.

Now, it's really fantastic that we have Steven Fehring, one of our Member Education Officers on the podcast today. Welcome.

Steven: Thank you, thank you for having me. Tax!

Anne: Tax is sexy man, believe it

Steven: Everyone's favourite topic, tax.

Anne: Well, when it comes to superannuation and tax, I reckon it's as close to sexy as you can get. Because there's so many amazing things in terms of the opportunities to build your wealth for retirement off the back of tax strategies with super.

Steven: Absolutely. Everyone loves paying less tax and I guess that's what this is about, is less tax.

Anne: Okay, so what are the main ways people can save for retirement, and save tax?

Steven: Yes, so essentially when you put money into superannuation, there are 2 ways that you can do it personally. One is through a salary packaging company or your employer, which is called salary sacrifice. The other way is to personally put that money into superannuation, and you claim a tax deduction on it.

So, really getting the difference between the 2 ways of putting money into super is what's important.

Anne: Okay. And what are the different tax rates for contributions?

Steven: Yes, so any contribution you claim a tax deduction on, or use for salary sacrifice, gets taxed the exact same rate in superannuation, which is 15 cents in the dollar. What really matters is your own personal marginal tax rate. So marginal tax rates, if you're over $45,000 per year, generally goes up to the 34.5 cents in the dollar.

And that's where the salary sacrifice, or claiming a tax deduction, really becomes important because you take your tax rate from 34.5 cents in the dollar down to 15 cents in the dollar.

Anne: So, if you're considering whether salary sacrifice is a great strategy for you to accumulate more wealth at retirement, this is one of the key considerations.

Steven: Yes, absolutely. The first thing I would do is, I would jump on an online salary sacrifice calculator, and there's websites like where you can check those calculators.

Anne: That’s the ASIC website, isn’t it?

Steven: Yes correct. They have a good calculator where you can put in your current income and say, I want to salary sacrifice - it could be $100 a week, $200 a week - and it will show you what that actual difference makes for you. And from there, should you want more guidance or more information, you can have a chat with your super fund, or a financial adviser will recommend the exact dollar figure you should be putting in the super.

Anne: So, what about claiming a tax deduction? How can you claim a tax deduction when it comes to super?

Steven: Yes, so this is quite new for superannuation. So about 3 years ago they changed the rules. It used to be you had to be self-employed to claim a tax deduction, but they opened it up for everyone. So, 3 or 4 years ago you put money into super and if you wanted to claim a tax deduction, it was not available to you. But now, if you're eligible, you may be able to do a post-tax contribution into super and claim a tax deduction on it. Just check with your super fund how they accept it. Most funds accept BPAY. Put that money, via BPAY, into superannuation and then you can jump onto their website and claim a tax deduction online, or via a form.

Your super fund will write to you, and go “Hey, you put in $10,000, you claimed a tax deduction on $10,000, here's the difference - we've taken 15% tax out”. You can take that to your accountant, and you can get that contribution in your tax deduction.

Anne: So how much super can I claim then as a tax deduction?

Steven: Very good question that one. It’s a little bit different for everyone because it does depend on age and super balance. Generally speaking, most people can claim a tax deduction up to $27,500 per year. But if your employee has contributed, that counts as well. However, in the future, we'll be putting in $30,000 before tax and possibly $120,000 post-tax when they get indexed next.

Anne: So, we're talking about the tax benefits of superannuation, but where do tax benefits not apply for people?

Steven: Let’s say you're in a higher income, you’re on $250,000 per year. When you're on $250,000 per year, any excess amounts to put in super get taxed at 30 cents in the dollar.

That said, at the moment, someone on $250,000 per year is being taxed at 47 cents in the dollar. So, you just have a few more considerations if you’re in a very high income.

If you're on a lower income, you're only being taxed at 19 cents in the dollar, or even a zero per cent tax rate. So, if you paid 15 cents inside of superannuation, that also may not be most helpful to you. Keep in mind though, tax rates are changing on 1 July 2024.

Anne: You’ve just highlighted Steven that there are so many rules around all of this, and so many ways to really maximise tax with super, getting advice is important.

Steven: Yes absolutely. It's one of those things, we all want to do what's best for us. And you might have spoken with someone who has a similar situation to you, but it's not going to be the same. And just that little rule - so being someone who's on $50,000 versus someone on $40,000 - sure it might be a similar job and similar pay, but very different things if they're trying to put money in the super. Who's going to have an advantage there, and who's not?

Anne: And accessing advice from your super fund around these simple things is something that members of Australian Retirement Trust can do as part of their membership fee. Picking up the phone, calling us, and getting an advice appointment.

Steven: Yes, absolutely, it’s 30 minutes of your day and you'll find a lot of value out of it.

Anne: So, Steven, if I've done all this research and I'm thinking, “What's the best approach for me? Should I salary sacrifice, or should I claim a tax deduction?” where do I go for information, what should I be thinking about?

Steven: This can be a tough decision. With salary sacrifice, obviously you get the deduction every fortnight or whenever your pay-cycle is, so you get the immediate benefit of that salary sacrifice in your take-home pay.

However, for some people that doesn't work for them. You might have sporadic income. So, let's say you’re a tradie. You have might have a 30-day invoice system, or a 60-day invoice system. Having that salary sacrifice money go our every fortnight is going to impact your cash flow. So, for someone in a job that's less secure – a secure job, but the industry is less secure - they might decide to do a lump sum payment at the end of the financial year and then claim tax deduction on it then. There's no difference in tax rates. They're both taxed at 15 cents in the dollar. The only difference is one's done automatically, every fortnight, and the other one is just done when you're able to put that money into superannuation.

Most super funds have a way to claim a tax deduction. That might be via a paper form, or they might have an online portal for you. But the timing of that form is very important. You need to make that contribution before the end of the financial year, but you must let us know you intend to claim a tax deduction before you do your tax return or before the end of the next financial year, whichever comes first, or you won't be eligible to claim a tax deduction.

Another tip would be, let's say you're ready to retire and go into income phase. You must put that income, that intent to claim a tax deduction form, before you go to income phase or before you roll out to another super fund, otherwise it's not available. So just something to be aware of, timing is very important if you're going to make those post-tax contributions.

Anne: If you wanted to do your own homework, you mentioned the ASIC Moneysmart website and the calculator on there. Where else can you find information around tax, and the tax benefits with superannuation?

Steven: Yes, so most super funds will have a good explanation on it and the ATO website itself is a great spot, plus other podcasts like this.

Anne: Okay, there we go, nice plug for Super Insider, good on you. Thank you very much for joining us on tax and super. Hopefully we made it a little bit sexy. I encourage all our listeners to please review the episode, share with your family and friends and subscribe to Super Insider so you know when our next episodes are ready for you, and we'll look forward to you joining us again soon.

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This podcast is general information only and brought to you by Australian Retirement Trust Pty Ltd (ABN 88 010 720 840, AFSL No. 228975) as trustee for Australian Retirement Trust (ABN 60 905 115 063) (the Fund).

Any advice given is provided by representatives of Sunsuper Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 50 087 154 818, AFSL 227867) or QInvest Limited (ABN 35 063 511 580, AFSL 238274), both wholly owned by the Trustee as an asset of Australian Retirement Trust. As representatives, they may recommend ART superannuation products when they are appropriate. Please refer to the relevant Financial Service Guides available at for Super Savings and at for QSuper. The content is provided for general information and educational purposes only, any personal views and opinions in this podcast are not necessarily the views of the Trustee.

This information and all products are issued by Australian Retirement Trust Pty Ltd ABN 88 010 720 840 AFSL No. 228975, the trustee of the Fund, Australian Retirement Trust ABN 60 905 115 063. Any reference to "QSuper" is a reference to the Government Division of the Fund. Information is correct at the time of publishing. This is general information only and does not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. You should consider if the information is appropriate to your own circumstances before acting on it. You should also consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before deciding to acquire or continue to hold any financial product and also the relevant Target Market Determination (TMD). For a copy of the PDS or TMD, please phone 13 11 84 or go to the Australian Retirement Trust website at or for QSuper products visit or call us on 1300 360 750 for a copy.

Marginal tax rates in this episode include the medicare levy of 2%. Tax rates may change in the future. See for more information.

Contribution rules and limits may change in the future. Eligibility and conditions apply. See for more information.