'Can I contribute to super when I've retired?' is a common question posed by Australian retirees and those thinking about retirement. After all, super contributions are one of the most tax-effective investments you can make. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
The simple answer
There is no 'yes or no' answer that applies to every person's situation.
Based on Australia's current superannuation laws, it's "yes" for some people aged over 65, and "no" for others. The answer for your specific situation will depend on three things.
- Your age.
- Whether you want to make a tax-deductible or non-tax-deductible contribution.
- Whether or not your contribution will exceed your contribution cap.
How you can contribute to super after turning 65
One potentially lucrative way to contribute to super at any age after turning 65 is by making a downsizer contribution of up to $300,000 from the sale of your family home. You can do this within 90 days if you downsize to a smaller and cheaper family home, provided that you have owned the home you are selling for at least 10 years.
You don’t even have to be over 65 to do it. You can make a downsizer contribution to super any time after the age of 55.
And if you're over the age of 75, downsizing is the only legal way you can make a super contribution.
If you're aged between 65 and 74 and you don't make a downsizer contribution, you will only be able to contribute to your super after turning 65 provided all the following apply to your individual situation:
- You are younger than 75, or you are older than 75 and making a downsizer contribution.
- You want to make a non-tax-deductible contribution or you want to make a tax-deductible contribution and you pass the work test. More on that in the next section.
- You don't want to contribute more than $27,500 of before-tax contributions (e.g., salary sacrifice) in any single financial year.
- You don't want to contribute more than $110,000 of after-tax contributions in any single financial year, unless you use the 'bring forward rule' to treble your contribution cap.
How do you pass the work test?
You only need to pass the work test if you want to make a tax-deductible super contribution after the age of 65. If you want to make a non-tax-deductible contribution, then the work test doesn't apply.
To pass the work test, you need to be able to answer 'yes' to the following two questions:
- You are aged between 67 and 74.
- You have (or will) work for at least 40 hours in a 30-day period in the year you want to make your tax-deductible contribution. It can be part-time work or self-employment, as long as that time requirement is met.
It's important to understand that you can re-enter the workforce and contribute to super after you have retired (even if you have already accessed some of your super).
You can read more about contributing to your super after you retire here.
When you can't contribute to super after turning 65
You can't legally contribute to super after turning 65 if any of the following apply to your individual situation:
- You are older than 75 (unless you are making a downsizing contribution).
- You want to make a tax-deductible contribution and you don't pass the work test.
- You want to contribute more than $27,500 of before-tax contributions (e.g., salary sacrifice) in any single financial year. You can only salary sacrifice up to $27,500.
- You want to contribute more than $110,000 in any single financial year, or more than $330,000 in a single year if you are using the 'bring forward' rule. You can only contribute up to these cap amounts.
Should you contribute to super after turning 65?
This depends on your individual financial situation, needs and goals. You should get independent, professional advice from a licensed financial planner who can take your circumstances into account when offering advice.
Want to learn more about making the most of your next 30 years?
We’re committed to making life better for the over 55s. Check out downsizing.com.au for more insights and great advice on living life to the fullest. We also have a great range of properties to help you do that with like-minded people in land lease communities and retirement villages.