Spouse contributions

You may be able to make spouse contributions to help grow your spouse’s super and your joint retirement savings. This could make a difference to your retirement savings if your spouse is not working or is a low income earner.

A spouse is defined as either:

  • Your husband
  • Your wife
  • Your defacto partner who lives permanently with you on a bona fide domestic basis (including same sex partners)

You and your spouse can’t be living separately or permanently apart when you make a spouse contribution.

Check if you qualify for the spouse contributions’ tax benefits

To make and receive spouse contributions, you and your spouse need to meet these criteria:

  • You and your partner must be in an eligible spouse relationship (as defined above)
  • You and your partner are both Australian residents
  • Your partner is under 65 years of age and is not working or a low income earner
  • If your spouse is aged over 65, but less than 70, you can only contribute if they have worked at least 40 hours in a period of no more than 30 consecutive days in this financial year

You and your spouse could be eligible for tax benefits

Spouse contributions are treated as non-concessional (after-tax) contributions, which means that, in your spouse’s account, no tax is deducted from the contribution and they are tax-free when the money eventually gets withdrawn.

It’s important to note that since spouse contributions are non-concessional, they will form part of your spouse’s non-concessional contribution cap.

You could receive a tax offset of 18%

A tax offset means you can pay less tax on your income. If you’re the spouse making a contribution, you could receive an 18% tax offset on the contributions you make to your spouse’s account. You can claim the tax offset through your personal tax return.

Note: no tax offset is available when the spouse receiving the contribution has exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap or their total super balance is $1.6 million or more for the 2018/19 financial year.

The tax offset depends on your spouse’s income

If your spouse’s assessable income, reportable employer super contributions and reportable fringe benefits add up to less than $37,000 a year, the first $3,000 of any spouse contributions you make are eligible for an 18% tax offset. This is up to the maximum offset of $540 per year.

If your spouse’s total income is higher than $37,000, the tax offset gradually reduces up until your spouse’s total income reaches $40,000. After this point, the tax offset doesn't apply.

The table below shows how the tax offset works:

How the tax offset works

Your spouse’s annual income

Amount paid into your spouse’s account

Maximum amount eligible for tax offset

Tax offset available to you

$20,000 $5,000 $3,000 $540
$37,000 $5,000 $3,000 $540
$39,000 $5,000 $1,999 $360
$40,000 $5,000 $0 $0

Your spouse’s final benefit could be taxed at a lower rate

Contributions you make to your spouse’s super account could attract a lower tax rate than benefits paid from their super account.

For example, if your spouse has reached their Commonwealth preservation age, is under 60 and accumulates a limited amount of super benefits before they retire, their final benefit may fall below their low rate cap. This means their final benefit may be taxed at a lower rate or not at all.

Find out more about low rate caps

How to open an account for your spouse

If your spouse doesn’t have an eligible super account, we can automatically open a GESB Super account for them as soon as you make your first spouse contribution. Once your spouse has received their new member kit, they can then join Member Online and choose an investment plan.

Choose an investment plan

We offer a range of investment plans with different levels of risk and return, designed to give you a choice as to how your money is invested.

Before making an investment choice, we recommend your spouse learns more about the investment plans and you might like to decide together which one suits your shared goals. If your spouse doesn’t choose an investment plan, your funds will be automatically invested in the My GESB Super plan.

Accessing spouse contributions

Spouse contributions are subject to the same conditions of release as the rest of your spouse’s super account.

Your spouse contribution can be accessed once your spouse reaches age 65, or their Commonwealth preservation age, and permanently retire.

How to make your first spouse contribution

Once you’ve decided that you want to contribute to your spouse’s super, you’ll need to download the spouse contributions brochure and complete the form.

How to make your first spouse contribution

How to make additional spouse contributions

Once you’ve set up your first spouse contribution, you’ll only need to complete the additional spouse contributions form when you want to make more spouse contributions.

How to make additional spouse contributions

1 $1.6 million is the general transfer balance cap for the 2018/19 financial year.

Page last updated 01 November 2017