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Contribution caps and rules

The Government limits the amounts you can contribute to super. If you go over the limits, you may pay extra tax. The limits are called contribution caps. 

There are two types of super contributions:

  • Concessional
  • Non-concessional

Concessional (before tax) contribution caps

Concessional contributions include:

  • All employer contributions (including salary sacrifice) from your before-tax income
  • Personal (voluntary) contributions for which you claim an income tax deduction

Check out the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for a more detailed definition of concessional caps.

Concessional cap for 2017-18
Concessional annual cap amount $25,000

Any concessional contributions in excess of the cap will also count towards the non-concessional contributions cap.

Tax on high income earners

An additional 15% tax applies to concessional (before tax) contributions if a person’s annual income (including concessional super contributions) exceeds a certain threshold. From the 1 July 2017 this threshold was reduced to $250,000.

What if you exceed your concessional contributions cap?

If you exceed your concessional contributions cap, the ATO will look at information provided to them from your super funds (including Sunsuper) as well as information you report in your tax return to assess if you need to pay the excess concessional contributions charge. Check out the ATO website for more information on what happens if you go over your concessional contributions cap and how any tax can be paid.

Non-concessional (after tax) contribution caps

Non-concessional contributions include:

  • Personal member voluntary contributions (no tax deduction claimed)
  • Spouse contributions
  • Any concessional contributions over the concessional contribution cap

Check out the ATO website for a more detailed definition of non-concessional caps.

Non-concessional contributions caps for superannuation balances of $1,400,000 or less

Non-concessional cap for 2017-18
Non-concessional annual cap amount $100,000
Three year bring-forward * $300,000

* People under 65 at any point during the financial year may be able to bring forward two years’ of non-concessional contributions, allowing you to contribute up to three times the cap at once or at any time during the three financial years. Note that a higher bring-forward amount applies if you exceeded the applicable cap in 2015/16 or 2016/17.

Restrictions on non-concessional contributions for superannuation balances of $1,400,000 or more

Members who have a total superannuation balance of $1,400,000 or more on 30 June 2017 will be subject to:

  • a reduced non-concessional contributions cap;
  • a shorter bring forward period; and
  • will not be able to make any non-concessional contributions if their total superannuation balance exceeds $1,600,000.

These restrictions are detailed below.

Total superannuation balance on 30 June 2017  Maximum non-concessional contributions for 2017/18 (including bring forward rule)  Bring-forward period 
 Less than $1,400,000  $300,000 3 years
 $1,400,000 - $1,500,000  $200,000 2 years
 $1,500,000 - $1,600,000  $100,000  N/A
 $1,600,000 or more  Nil  N/A

What if you exceed your non-concessional contributions cap?

Legislation has been passed to allow members to withdraw excess non-concessional contributions made from the 2013/14 financial year onwards, plus associated earnings. The ATO will contact you about your situation if this applies to you. Check out the ATO website on what happens if you go over your non-concessional contributions cap.

We're here to help

If you'd like more information about contribution caps, you can visit the ATO website or give us a call on 13 11 84