What is contribution splitting?

If you’re a GESB Super or West State Super member, contribution splitting allows you to share some of your super contributions with your partner. If you’re a single income family, this means you can make use of the same tax incentives available to dual income families.

Some of your super can be split into a new or existing account for your partner

A partner, for these purposes, is your husband, wife or de facto partner (of any gender) who lives permanently with you on a bona fide domestic basis in a relationship as a couple, at the time the contributions are made.

You and your partner both need to be Australian residents when the contributions are made.

The payment of the split contributions to your partner is referred to as a 'contributions-splitting super benefit'.

The contributions-splitting super benefit is paid as a rollover super benefit when the benefit is rolled over to or transferred between super funds. When a contributions-splitting super benefit is rolled over to another super entity, we will send you notification and a statement.

Split contributions are reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

We report all of your contributions to the ATO, including contributions that were transferred to your partner after a contribution splitting application. If you’re a GESB Super member, contribution splitting does not reduce the amount that will be counted towards your concessional contributions cap.

When can contributions be split?

You need to apply to split your contributions. Your application should be lodged with us:

  • In the financial year following the year in which the contributions were made
  • Within the same financial year the contributions were made if your entire benefit is to be rolled over, transferred, or cashed before the end of that financial year

Once we have your application, you can’t make another application for the same contribution period.

Which contributions can be split and how much?

Concessional contributions paid into your super account during a financial year can be split into your partner’s super account, including:

  • Contributions paid by your employer such as Superannuation Guarantee contributions
  • Salary sacrificed contributions
  • Voluntary contributions to your GESB Super for which you have claimed an income tax deduction

The amount that you can split with your partner each year usually depends on the amount and type of contributions made to your super fund in the previous financial year.

GESB Super

You can split up to 85% of your employer contributions (including salary sacrifice) and personal deductible contributions, provided the amount to be split does not exceed your concessional contributions cap for that year.

From 1 July 2019, the concessional contributions cap1 may be increased above the general concessional contributions cap1 if you are eligible to use your unused concessional contribution cap amounts from previous years.

The carry-forward rules allow you to make extra concessional contributions above the general concessional contributions cap - without having to pay extra tax. If you have a total super balance of less than $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year, you can use your unused concessional contributions cap amounts carried forward from previous financial years, starting from 1 July 2018. Amounts carried forward that have not been used after five years will expire. Where you make such additional contributions, the maximum amount you may split with your partner will equal the general plus the previously unused concessional contributions made in excess of the general concessional contributions cap.

West State Super

You can split 100% of your employer contributions (including salary sacrifice), provided the amount to be split does not exceed the concessional contributions cap1 for that year.

To use your unused cap amounts you need to meet two conditions:

  • Your total super balance immediately prior to the financial year is less than $500,000
  • Your concessional contributions for the year would otherwise exceed your concessional contributions cap for the year.

Although concessional contributions made to West State Super count towards your concessional contributions cap for determining amounts that can be made to a taxed scheme, they are not capped within the untaxed scheme. This means that contributions made only to an untaxed scheme such as West State Super would not trigger you exceeding your concessional contributions cap to be eligible to use your unused cap amounts.

Please note - the Life Time Cap for West State Super is currently $1.615 million. Any contribution split made will go towards the receiving partner's Life Time Cap, not the contribution splitters Life Time Cap.

If you are making an application to split large contributions that are close to or above the general concessional contributions cap, you should first check ATO online or contact the ATO to confirm the amount eligible for a split.

Your total super balance, carry-forward concessional contributions and your concessional contributions cap can be found by logging in to your myGov account and going to the Super section within the ATO-linked service.

For more information about tax and contributing to your super, read our Tax and super brochure and Contributing to your super brochure.

Which contributions can’t be split?

Not all types of contributions can be split. You can’t split:

  • Non-concessional contributions, such as voluntary after-tax contributions
  • Amounts that have been rolled over from another fund or transferred from a foreign super fund
  • Small business capital gains tax exempt amounts
  • Amounts subject to Family Law splitting orders
  • Contributions made where you were not in a bona fide relationship with the person named as your partner on your contribution splitting form
  • Government co-contributions
  • First Home Super Saver scheme contributions
  • Downsizer contributions

What makes a contribution splitting application invalid?

Your application is invalid if:

  • You have already made an application for the same contribution period
  • The amount on your application is more than the maximum amount available in your account that may be split
  • At the time of application, your partner has reached their preservation age2 and is retired
  • You’re not in a bona fide relationship when you apply to split your contributions

You or your partner who have at any time been gainfully employed3 are seen as ‘retired’ if:

  • The person, having been gainfully employed after they turned 60 years of age, ceases to be gainfully employed, or
  • The person is at least the preservation age2, is not gainfully employed and we are reasonably satisfied they will never again become gainfully employed for 10 hours a week or more

Gainfully employed means being employed or self-employed for gain or reward in any business, trade, profession, vocation, calling, occupation or employment.

Case study - meet Peter

Peter is aged 54. He earns a salary of $64,000 p.a. and has $540,000 in his super account. He wants to keep working after the age of 56 and continue to salary sacrifice into his super.

His wife Janet is aged 51 and has $50,000 in her super account.

They want to make sure they each have enough super by the time they retire. Peter plans to split his salary sacrifice contributions and transfer them to Janet’s super account.

By splitting the amount of super in his account, Peter and Janet will now have access to two low rate caps if they decide to retire before the age of 60.

How to apply for contribution splitting

Simply download, complete and return the Contribution splitting form. This form allows you to:

  • Split your contributions with your partner. Your partner doesn’t have to be one of our members to receive your contribution
  • Open a new GESB Super account for your partner if you would like to keep the split contributions with us
  • Select how much of your contributions you would like to split with your partner. You can split contributions made in the previous financial year, or in the current financial year, if you are withdrawing your entire benefit

We need to confirm your and your partner’s identities before you can split your contributions. Find out more about providing certified proof of identification.

For more information about contribution splitting, visit the ATO website.

1 The general concessional contributions cap for 2021/22 is $27,500. The concessional contributions cap increased from $25,000 to $27,500 from 1 July 2021.
2 Your Commonwealth preservation age is dependent on your date of birth. For more information on your preservation age, read our Accessing your super brochure.
3 Gainfully employed means being employed or self-employed for gain or reward in any business, trade, profession, vocation, calling, occupation or employment.

Download the form

Page last updated 01 July 2021