Many investors don’t start paying attention to the end of the financial year until it has passed. These investors then spend their time collecting investment statements, deductible expenses and PAYG statements for tax returns.

However, when it comes to superannuation there are important dates that enable you to maximise your contributions and your tax deductions.

Varying of after-tax contributions: allow at least a week before 30th of June

There are two types of contributions that you can make to your superannuation – concessional (pre-tax: employer contributions and salary sacrifice) or non-concessional (post-tax). Both have different annual limits.

Concessional contributions have an annual limit of $27,500. They come into your superannuation fund pre-tax, so they attract a 15% contributions tax upon entry.

Non-concessional contributions have an annual cap of $110,000. These contributions have already been taxed at your marginal tax rate, so they do not attract contributions tax upon entry.

For example, if you salary sacrifice $1,000 into your superannuation, you will pay $150 in tax. It will result in a net contribution of $850.

If you earn $100,000 a year, your marginal tax rate is 30% *(2024-2025 rates). Your effective tax rate is 23.8%. This is what you would be paying on any contribution going into the fund.

However, if you have not met your contribution limit for your concessional contributions for the year, you are able to vary your contribution. This means that you are changing it from non-concessional to concessional and may receive a tax deduction for this.

As you can see from the example, this is particularly attractive to those on higher incomes, but it is important to keep in mind the concessional limit.

To do this, you need to submit an S290 form, or a Notice of Intent to Vary or Claim a Deduction for personal contributions.

This form traditionally was used by those that were self-employed as they had no traditional ‘pay-roll’ to submit super guarantee or salary sacrifice contributions for their superannuation. The purpose of the form is to turn post-tax contributions to pre-tax, or concessional contributions.

Important to note is that the form must be submitted in time for the superannuation fund to timestamp or process it – depending on their processes. It is better to be safe than sorry and submit the S290 form with enough leeway for it to be processed, so you’re able to minimise the tax that you are paying.

Concessional contributions

Concessional contributions are one of the most tax effective ways to save for your retirement. Maximising your concessional contributions can drastically change your retirement outcomes.

The current super guarantee is 11%. However, there’s 2.2 million Australians that are self-employed and do not have any requirement to contribute to their super.

If you are self-employed and do not contribute from age 20 to 35 those 15 years of missed contributions will mean a large difference in how comfortable your retirement is. The decision to not contribute mean retiring with $832,465 instead of $2,430,477 in your super account. The earlier you start, the more work that is taken off your plate with the help of compounding^^.

Of course, one of the beauties of super is that you can contribute up to $27,500 a year at the concessional tax rate of 15%. This means that if you have surplus cash, you can further contribute to your retirement savings in a tax effective way.

Say that you contribute an extra $3,000 each year to your retirement savings from the age of 20, on top of employer contributions^^. When you retire at 65, your retirement balance will be $3,109,927. This is opposed to $2,430,477.

You’re able to use Moneysmart’s calculator to enter your own personal situation and understand how you can maximise your retirement outcomes.

I’ve written in detail about why investors should take their super seriously as early as possible here.

Co-contributions and contribution splitting: your request must be received prior to the End of Financial Year

There are two superannuation strategies that have annual limits.

The first is super co-contributions. This is a government initiative to boost the superannuation balances of low- and middle-income individuals. These low- and middle-income earners are eligible for up to $500. You do not need to apply for the contribution, but you do need to contribute before the end of financial year. Maximise your superannuation by contributing every year that you are eligible. You can find out more about eligibility for the co-contribution here.

The other is contribution splitting. This is a process to top up the superannuation balance of a spouse or partner. This can include the lesser of 85% of the contributions in that financial year or the concessional contributions cap for that financial year. This is a strategy that is commonly used if one spouse is not working due to caring responsibilities.


^^An individual on $100,000 contributing 11% p.a. to their superannuation, with 6.7% p.a. performance per year (future expected returns for an aggressive portfolio from Morningstar Investment Management). Super account starts at $0 at 20. Accounts for contribution tax.