Superannuation FAQs

Super can be complicated, especially when you're starting out. Here are some answers to the questions we hear most. 

Superannuation basics
How can I increase my super?

There are a number of ways to boost your super balance, and the sooner you start the better. You could consider:

  • Salary sacrifice (before-tax) contributions
  • Personal (after-tax) contributions
  • Contributing to your spouse’s* super balance (see the Spouse contribution advice form).

If you are a low or middle income earner you may also be eligible for government assistance in the form of the super co-contribution or the low income superannuation tax offset. Find out more at ato.gov.au

You can explore ways to contribute more using the Contributions calculator.

*For the purposes of superannuation law, a spouse means both a legal and de facto spouse, whether of the same or opposite sex.

What are spouse contributions?

Spouse contributions involve putting super into your spouse’s account in order to help them build their retirement savings. Spouse contributions can help boost the super of a partner with a low account balance, and help grow your retirement savings as a couple. (You may also be entitled to a tax rebate.)

For more information, please see the Spouse contribution advice form.

Note: Spouse contributions count towards the receiving spouse’s contribution cap. There is also a limit on the contributions for which a rebate can be claimed.

How can I make additional contributions to top up my super before and after tax?

You may be able to top up your super before tax by arranging with your employer to forego part of your future before-tax salary in return for your employer making a contribution to super of a similar value. This is a concessional contribution known as ‘salary sacrificing’ and can have tax benefits.

You may be able to top up your super after tax by making personal (or non-concessional) contributions. These can be one-off payments or regular contributions, and can be made via BPAY, Direct debit or Payroll directions.

If you make a personal contribution from your after-tax income, you may be able to claim a tax deduction. 

Find out more about growing your super, including important information about contribution caps, by visiting the Grow your super section of our website.

When can I access my super?

Generally, you’re able to access your superannuation benefit if you satisfy a specific requirement, including:

  • You reach your preservation age and retire
  • You turn 65, or
  • Other criteria set by the Government.

To access your super, contact the CareSuperLine on 1300 360 149 and request a Claim your super form.

For more information read the Accessing your super IBR.

In some instances, you may be able to access your super early. Please see 'Can I access my super early' for more information. If you’re nearing retirement age and want to know more about your options, check out our online Retirement Guide.

Can I access my super early?

You may be able to access your super early in the instance of:

  • Terminal illness
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Compassionate grounds
  • An account balance of $200 or less, or
  • Permanent departure from Australia.

Note that all early release access is subject to specific application requirements and approval by the Trustee. To find out if you are eligible for early release, call the CareSuperLine on 1300 360 149 or refer to the Apply for early release of super form (which you can use to make financial hardship and compassionate grounds claims).

Conditions for accessing super are different for temporary residents. See the relevant question under ‘Transferring my super’.

What do I do if my employer is not paying my contributions?

If you have talked to your employer and still believe that contributions have not been made on your behalf, you can lodge an enquiry on the ATO website using the online Employee superannuation guarantee (SG) calculator tool.

You will remain anonymous at all times while using this tool – only when you choose to lodge an enquiry with the ATO will any personal information be transmitted.

How much super will I need in retirement?

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to this question. The amount of super you need when you retire depends on many things, from how long you live to how well you live.

However, to help you get an idea of the amount of money you might need when you stop working, we provide access to a range of superannuation planning calculators. You can enter your current balance and contributions to the Income stream calculator and see a projection of the estimated annual retirement income you could receive once you stop working.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA)^ have also developed the Retirement Standard to help singles and couples determine the kind of lifestyle they want in retirement.

Plus, it’s easy to get in touch with a financial planner# to talk through your retirement strategy. As a CareSuper member, you’re entitled to basic super-related advice at no extra cost.

^ASFA is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial or taxation advice to check how the calculator relates to your individual circumstances.
#Financial advice is offered through CareSuper’s relationship with Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS), and is provided by an authorisation under the Australian financial services license of IFS, ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514.

Working arrangements and your super
As a casual employee, do I get super?

If you’re earning more than $450 (before tax) from a single employer in a calendar month, then your employer should be making super contributions for you. If you are under 18, you are also required to be working 30 hours or more per week.  

If you don’t qualify for super right now, keep in mind that your hours may change (for example, over busy holiday periods), meaning you may qualify in the future.

ASIC's MoneySmart website has a calculator that can help all employees figure out how much super they should be receiving. Check it out on the MoneySmart website.

How can I help my super grow if I’m not receiving employer contributions?

If you’re earning less than $51,813 per year, you may be eligible for the government co-contribution, which is where the government matches your personal contribution(s) to super up to a maximum of $500. (Personal contributions are any contributions you make from your take-home pay). To see how much you could receive from a co-contribution, visit the MoneySmart co-contribution calculator.

If you’re earning less than $37,000 per year and have given CareSuper with your tax file number, you could also be eligible for the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO). This is where the government offsets you the amount of tax paid on employer super contributions (also capped at a maximum of $500).

You could also consider making personal contributions in a way that suits you or discuss splitting contributions with your partner. For more information on ways to boost your super, visit the Grow your super page.

I’m a contractor. What does this mean for my super?

As a contractor with your own Australian Business Number (ABN), you will generally be responsible for paying your own super.

In some situations, however, you may be considered an ‘employee for super purposes’ by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

For more information, go to the ‘Am I entitled to super’ calculator on the ATO’s website.  

I’ve changed jobs. What happens to my CareSuper account?

If you’ve changed jobs, your employer will need to know whether you already have a super account you’d like your super paid into.

It’s easy to tell your employer you’d like to stay with CareSuper. Simply hand them a completed Choice of fund form.

By choosing to stay with CareSuper, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of your membership. Plus, you’ll find it’s easier to manage your super when it’s all kept together – and you won’t have to worry about fees from multiple super funds eating away at your balance.

If you don’t make a choice, your employer will open a new account for you with their chosen default super fund. From there, your employer will begin making contributions into your newly-created super account.

Superannuation and family law
What happens to my super if I separate from my partner?

In family law matters superannuation is considered a financial asset, like the family home, meaning that some couples may split their super as part of separation proceedings.

If you are separating from your partner, you can choose to split superannuation interests by implementing a superannuation agreement or by applying for a court order.

Is there a fee associated with splitting superannuation interests?

A $40 family law splitting fee applies. This fee is equally paid by both parties involved, and will be deducted at the time the family law split is processed.

An exit fee may also apply.

Where can I go for help?

CareSuper recommends you seek legal advice for family law splits, as the rules around this process can be complex. For more information on family law splitting and superannuation, visit the Family Court of Australia’s website.

Making contributions
How will the date my contribution is received affect how I manage my super?

Contributions will count towards your contribution caps for the financial year in which they were received by CareSuper. If you plan to claim a tax deduction, you’ll only be able to claim for the financial year in which your contribution was received.

In order for your contribution to be received within the relevant financial year, CareSuper must have received your contribution payment with all the information we need in order to process it on or before the cut-off date of 30 June. Contributions received after this date will be recorded as part of a new financial year.

How long will it take for CareSuper to receive my contribution?

If you’re contributing by BPAY®, it can take CareSuper up to two business days to receive your contribution. This will depend upon your financial institution’s processing times. If you’re contributing by cheque, you will need to allow enough time for your chosen postage method to reach CareSuper.

What information does CareSuper need to process my contribution?

If you’re making personal contributions through an arrangement with your employer

CareSuper won’t need any additional information from you. However, you should be aware that any extra contributions received on your behalf by CareSuper after 30 June will fall into the next financial year. So you should be aware of when your employer is sending contributions to CareSuper and whether this falls close to 30 June.

If you’re making personal contributions via BPAY®

No additional information is needed. Simply log in to MemberOnline, click on ‘payment options’ and make the payment through your financial institution using your personalised BPAY details.

If you’re making personal contributions via cheque

If you are making a contribution via cheque, you’ll need to include the details of your contribution on a separate piece of paper attached to your cheque. These details include your name, member number and contribution amount, as well as whether this contribution is before or after-tax. You'll also need three points of ID, such as your name, address and date of birth.

If you’re making a personal contribution and are aged 65 or older

If you’re over age 65 and are no longer receiving employer contributions, CareSuper will need to confirm you are eligible to make additional personal contributions before your payment can be processed.

To confirm your employment status, you’ll need to complete the Employment questionnaire and send it to us via email or post. Once CareSuper has confirmed your eligibility, your contribution will be allocated to your account.

Keep in mind you’ll need to complete this process for each financial year in which you make a contribution, if you are aged over 65.

How long will it take for my contribution to appear on my CareSuper account?

As long as you meet the requirements for making a contribution and have provided CareSuper with all the information needed to process your payment, your contribution payment will generally appear in your account within three business days of receipt. To see what information CareSuper requires, read ‘What information does CareSuper need to process my contribution?’or visit the ATO website.

Once your contribution has been processed, you will be able to see the details in your account’s transaction history in MemberOnline. The details of your contributions will also be outlined in your member statement each year.

Are there any contribution limits?

Contribution limits or ‘caps’ are set by the Government and differ depending on whether you are making non-concessional (before-tax) or concessional (after-tax) contributions. If you do make contributions that exceed your caps you may have to pay additional tax, and excess concessional contributions may also be counted towards your non-concessional cap.

Your ability to make certain types of contributions may be affected by your total super balance (i.e the total amount you have in super and/or pension accounts at 30 June of the previous financial year.)

For more information on your contribution limits and what they might mean for you, visit the Government contribution limits page.

What is the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS)?

The FHSSS helps first home buyers reach their deposit goal sooner by allowing them to save using their super account. Through the scheme, you can claim voluntary contributions (and any earnings) made to super from 1 July 2017. You can claim up to $15,000 per financial year, and up to $30,000 in total, to put towards the deposit for your new home.

The scheme kicks off from 1 July 2018 – eligible CareSuper members wanting to take advantage of the scheme can start making voluntary contributions to their super.

Transferring my super
What happens to my super when I change jobs?

In most cases, changing jobs doesn’t mean you have to change super funds. To take CareSuper with you when you change jobs, simply complete the Choice of fund form and hand it to your new employer.

By choosing to stay with CareSuper, you can avoid ending up with multiple funds, multiple sets of fees and excess paperwork. We’ve already filled in our details, so choosing CareSuper is easy.

How do I transfer or rollover my super into one account?

You have a number of options when it comes to putting all your super in the one place. You can:

We can search the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) database for your other super accounts and get the results within seconds. Start your search

Can I transfer part of my super benefit?

This enquiry is best handled by one of our friendly customer service staff. Please call the CareSuperLine on 1300 360 149 for assistance.

What happens to my super if I’m a temporary resident working in Australia?

Conditions for accessing super are different for temporary residents.

If you are a temporary resident and your employer is paying super contributions for you, you may be entitled to receive those super benefits when you leave Australia permanently. This payment is called a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) and you can claim your DASP by visiting the ATO website and making DASP application online.

What happens to my super and annual statements if I am a temporary resident and leave Australia?

CareSuper is required to pay the super of former temporary residents to the ATO if it has been more than 6 months since they departed Australia and their visa has expired or been cancelled.

The Trustee relies on relief from ASIC to the effect that it is not obliged to notify or give an exit statement to a non-resident in the above circumstances. Non-residents can apply to the Commissioner of Taxation to claim the unclaimed super under Part 3A of the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999. Visit ato.gov.au for more information.

Does CareSuper accept transfers from UK pension funds?

Due to a change in legislation in the UK, CareSuper – along with most other Australian super funds – can no longer accept transfers from UK pension schemes. This change does not impact any QROPS transfers that have previously been made to CareSuper.

MySuper
What is MySuper?

MySuper is an Australian Government superannuation initiative to provide low cost and simple super products for employers to choose as their default super fund. MySuper options have basic features and fee structures. This means you can easily see how our MySuper option compares to others and make informed choices about your super based on cost, investment performance and insurance.

Of course, CareSuper has been taking care of your money in this way since 1986, so you can feel confident that your super is in good hands.

To learn more about the return, risk level and fees applicable to our Balanced (MySuper) option, visit the MySuper dashboard.

What does MySuper mean for me?

CareSuper’s default option, the Balanced option, is also our MySuper option. This means that if you are a new member, or if you are an existing member and you have not made an investment choice, your money is invested in this option.

The Balanced (MySuper) option has a proven track record and is designed to provide a strong long-term net benefit to members. If you would like to choose to invest your super money differently, you can do so via MemberOnline, or by filling out an Investment choice form.

(Please note: You should read the Member Guide PDS and Investment Guide before making any investment decisions.)

Do I receive insurance cover through MySuper?

Yes. MySuper members receive a level of death and total & permanent disablement (TPD) insurance (subject to eligibility). The level of cover you receive depends on your age.

Your insurance premiums are paid from your super contributions before they are taxed – this makes them great value for money, plus you don’t feel the impact on your take-home pay.  

Of course, if you’d like something different to our default arrangement, it’s easy to change or cancel your cover in MemberOnline. 

Fees
What are investment fees?

The investment fee for each of our Managed and Asset Class investment options includes internal fees and costs such as custodial fees, asset consulting fees and other investment manager fees that are not directly deducted from members’ accounts.

Investment fees are taken into account in the weekly calculation of unit prices and are reflected in the returns allocated to your account through changes in the unit prices.

Investment fees may change from time to time because of changes in estimated costs and performance fees from year to year. The most updated information is available on our fees page, and you can also read a more detailed overview in Fees and other costs.

What is the indirect cost ratio?

The indirect cost ratio (ICR) for each of our Managed and Asset Class investment options includes external fees and costs such as investment management costs, performance-related costs, and other costs including transactional and operational costs.

ICRs are not deducted from your account. They are deducted from investment returns and reflected in the unit price of each Managed and Asset Class investment option.

ICRs may change from time to time because of changes in indirect costs from year to year. The most updated information is available on our fees page, and you can also read a more detailed overview in Fees and other costs.

What is the administration fee used for?

CareSuper members pay an administration fee to cover the administrative and operational costs of the Trustee. For more information, please read Fees and other costs.

What is a buy-sell spread?

The buy-sell spread is the difference between the purchase and sale price of a unit in an investment option. It ensures that all transaction costs incurred in buying or selling assets are fairly allocated to those members who transact in that investment option. Buy-sell spreads are incurred when members invest in or take money out of one of CareSuper’s Managed or Asset Class investment options. This includes making contributions, withdrawals, fee deductions or switching between investment options. The buy-sell spreads deducted from unit prices are held within the relevant investment option and applied to the annual return of that option for the benefit of those members.

For more information about buy-sell spreads, read Fees and other costs.

Why is there an exit fee?

CareSuper may charge a $40 exit fee to recover the costs of selling and disposing of all or part of a member’s interests in CareSuper.

Exit fees are restricted to cost recovery and other members do not bear the costs of another member exiting.

Are there any fees for advice?

It depends on the level of advice you are seeking.

CareSuper members have access to basic super-related advice at no extra cost. This service is offered through CareSuper’s relationship with Industry Fund Services* and includes advice on topics such as investment choice, insurance in super and contributions.

Personal advice can be provided by IFS on a fee-for-service basis, which will always be disclosed upfront. This fee can be deducted from your CareSuper account, provided you have at least $3500 in your account (up to a maximum of $1500 per year).

Find out more:
Visit caresuper.com.au/advice and book a call back
Read Financial planning with CareSuper.

*Financial advice is offered through CareSuper’s relationship with Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS), and is provided by an authorisation under the Australian financial services license of IFS, ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514.

Tax in superannuation
How is super taxed?

Tax rules can be complex and they change frequently – however, understanding how tax and super work can help you make the most of any tax advantages available to you, as well as ensure you don’t make any costly mistakes.

The information provided below is a summary only and subject to change.

Generally, there are three points at which your super could be taxed:  

  • When it goes into your CareSuper account (contributions)
  • When the Fund earns income (investment earnings), and
  • When your super is withdrawn (super benefits).

Tax on contributions

All employer contributions, as well as any personal contributions for which a tax deduction is claimed, are usually subject to a 15% contributions tax.

Personal contributions and spouse contributions are not usually taxed, as these contributions are made after you have already paid income tax.

If you exceed the contribution limits set by the Government, then you may need to pay more tax on your contributions.

How these tax rules affect your individual super situation is something you should discuss with your financial adviser.

For further information, visit the Australian Tax Office website at ato.gov.au.

Do I need to provide my tax file number (TFN)?

You are not obliged to disclose your TFN, but there may be tax and other consequences if you don’t.

Providing your TFN can be the key to paying less tax. Moreover, under the Government’s SuperStream changes, super funds must return employer contributions if no TFN is provided within 30 days of the contribution being received.

You can provide CareSuper with your TFN through MemberOnline – a simple and secure way to manage your super.

Do I have to pay tax when I withdraw my super?

Tax may be applied to the withdrawal of your benefit in cash, depending on your age, the amount and composition of your benefit (in particular whether it contains a taxable component), the type of benefit, and what you do with it. If you are 60 or over, lump sum or pension withdrawals from taxed super funds are tax-free.