Super can be complicated, especially when you’re starting out. Here are some answers to the questions we hear most.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 us 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 Retirement Guide.
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 us on 1300 360 149.
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.
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 Retirement income 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.
If you’re over age 18, your employer is legally required to pay super contributions for you. If you are under 18, you also should receive super contributions if you’re working 30 hours or more per week.
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.
If you’re earning less than $58,445 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.
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.
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 check with the Australian Taxation Office for your stapled fund. If a stapled fund is found for you, your employer will make contributions to your stapled fund. If no stapled fund is found, 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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re making personal contributions via BPAY®
No additional information is needed. Simply log in to MemberOnline, click on the icon next to your name and select "Personal details". Make the payment through your financial institution using your personalised BPAY details. Alternatively, you can find your BPAY details on your last member statement. Remember BPAY payments aren’t allocated into your CareSuper account automatically, so you’ll need to allow about 72 hours for the money to appear in your account. Note that we’ll need your tax file number to accept personal after-tax contributions.
If you’re making personal contributions via cheque
If you are making a contribution via cheque, please fill out a contribution form and attach to your cheque.
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.
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.
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 $50,000 in total, to put towards the deposit for your new home.
You must apply for and receive a determination for release before signing a contract for purchase, but you don’t have to wait for the release of funds to sign a contract. You’ll have 12 months from the date of the release request to sign a contract or recontribute the amount (less tax withheld) back to your super account.
Eligible CareSuper members wanting to take advantage of the scheme can do this by making voluntary contributions to your super.
Visit the ATO website to learn more about the scheme.
If you’re 55 or older and downsize your home, you may be eligible to contribute up to $300,000 as an individual or $600,000 as a couple from the sale to your super. This government initiative is known as the ‘Downsizer initiative’ or ‘downsizer scheme’.
See more information and the full eligibility criteria on the ATO website.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Yes, subject to eligibility criteria. If you’re an eligible Employee Plan member that joined on or after 1 April 2020, you’ll receive standard insurance cover with us when you:
- Receive a mandated employer contribution
- Reach an account balance of $6,000, and
- Are age 25 or older.
Your account must also be active (that is, you receive a contribution or transfer-in within 16 continuous months).
You may be able to receive cover as soon as you receive an employer contribution, and before you meet the above criteria, by making an election online or by completing the relevant form.
Your insurance fees 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 standard cover, it’s easy to tailor (if eligible) or cancel your cover in MemberOnline, or by completing and returning the relevant form.
Investment fees and costs are expenses that relate to the investment of the assets of CareSuper. They include base and performance related fees paid to investment managers, management fees charged in investment vehicles, asset consulting fees, bank fees and internal costs related to the management of CareSuper’s assets. These amounts are paid from the assets of each investment option before we calculate unit prices, and are not deducted directly from your account. For more information please see What it costs to be a CareSuper member.
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.
A buy–sell spread represents the estimated transaction costs incurred when buying or selling the underlying assets in an investment option. When you invest money in an option (e.g. by contributing to your super or switching into an investment option) or take money out of an option (e.g. by withdrawing money from your super or switching out of an option), we apply buy–sell spreads to the option’s mid price to calculate the relevant buy price and sell price.
Applying buy–sell spreads helps ensure the costs incurred when members transact in our investment options are fairly allocated to those members who are making the transactions.
For more information about buy-sell spreads, read Fees and other costs.
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 provided over the phone* and includes advice on topics such as investment choice, insurance in super and contributions.
If you’re after a comprehensive financial plan, you can meet with one of our financial planners. The initial obligation-free consultation is at no extra cost. If you decide to go ahead with comprehensive advice, your planner will let you know what fees apply.
If you require more complex personal financial advice, our financial planners, in the course of their initial appointment with you, may refer you to an external advice service provided by Australian Unity Personal Financial Services Limited#.
Find out more:
* Financial advice obtained over the phone, or through MemberOnline, is provided by Mercer Financial Advice (Australia) Pty Ltd (MFAAPL) ABN 76 153 168 293, Australian Financial Services Licence #411766.
# Complex personal financial advice is provided by Australian Unity Personal Financial Services Limited (ABN 26 098 725 145, AFSL 234459). If you choose to take up complex advice services, you may be charged fees by Australian Unity. Australian Unity will discuss any applicable fees directly with you prior to them being charged. CareSuper receives no financial incentives or commissions regarding this referral service.
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.
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.
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.
The PYS laws include:
- Administration and investment fees and costs are capped at 3% for balances under $6000
- Insurance will be cancelled on super accounts that have been inactive for 16 continuous months, unless you let us know you want to keep your cover, or you contribute or transfer money into your super account before your account becomes inactive for this period
- Inactive low balance accounts (under $6000) will be transferred to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which will search for and attempt to consolidate your super into an active account.
If your account is classified as an ‘inactive low balance account’, your super balance will be transferred to the ATO the following April or October respectively.
We also have discretion to voluntarily transfer member accounts to the ATO at other times on an ad-hoc basis, for example accounts with a low/nil balance which would have previously been closed.
Inactive low balance accounts will be determined at 30 June and 31 December each year and transferred to the ATO by the following October or April respectively. This is unless they stop being inactive, or you declare in writing that you don’t want your super treated as an inactive low balance account before the transfer happens. We may also voluntarily transfer member accounts to the ATO at other times on an ad-hoc basis, for example accounts with a nil balance which would have previously been closed.
Some of the actions that will make your super account be considered ‘active’ and therefore prevent it being transferred to the ATO under the PYS laws are:
- Choose CareSuper as your fund to which your employer pays your super and receive an employer contribution into your account
- Make a personal contribution or roll money into your account
- Confirm that you wish to keep any existing insurance cover, or apply for and be accepted for new insurance cover on your account (if you consider that it’s right for you)
- Change your investment option/s
- Make or change a binding beneficiary nomination
- Inform us that your account is not an inactive low balance account, and you’d like it to stay with CareSuper.
Be mindful we’re required to determine accounts to be transferred at 30 June and 31 December each year, and transfer them by the following October or April respectively. Therefore, once you’ve decided one of these actions is right for you, you should act as soon as possible, and before 28 March (for the April transfer) or 28 September (for the October transfer).