Grow your super

How can you help your super to thrive?

Spouse contributions

If your spouse is taking time off work to raise children or working part time, why not boost their super during this time so they can not only benefit from the contribution to their super fund but from the additional earnings from interest earned over time?

If your spouse is not currently working or is a low-income earner, you may like to give his or her super account a boost by making a contribution for them.

The maximum tax offset that is available is $540 per year. This can be claimed if your spouse’s ‘income’ is $37,000 or less, you made spouse contributions of $3,000 to their super account and you and your spouse met all the eligibility conditions. You can always contribute more, but only the first $3,000 is eligible for the tax offset.

The offset gradually reduces for incomes above $37,000, and completely phases out when your spouse’s ‘income’ reaches $40,000.

When looking at whether you are eligible for the tax offset, the ATO applies a special, expanded concept of ‘income’.

Are you eligible?

The ATO has set the following criteria that must be met in order for you to be eligible to receive the tax offset for spouse contributions.

  • You did not claim a tax deduction for the contributions.
  • Both you and your spouse were Australian residents when the contributions were made.
  • At the time of making the contributions, you and your spouse were not living separately and apart on a permanent basis.
  • The sum of your spouse’s assessable income plus their total reportable fringe benefits amounts and reportable employer super contributions (RESC) for the financial year, was less than $40,000.
  • The contribution was made to a complying super fund or a retirement savings account (RSA).
  • Your spouse has not exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap for the year (for more information, see our Contribution caps page and super tax concessions factsheet).
  • Your spouse’s total superannuation balance immediately before the start of the financial year is less than $1.6 million.

For more information visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website or you can contact your fund.

What is a spouse?

The ATO defines a spouse as a person who is married to you. Their definition also includes someone who lives with you on a genuine domestic basis as your husband or wife, although they’re not legally married to you. It does not include a person you’re married to but who lives separately from you or apart from you on a permanent basis.

Contribution splitting

The tax offset for spouse contributions is not available for contributions that were made to your own super fund, then split with your spouse. Contribution splitting only applies to certain types of contributions and you will need to contact your fund to set up a special arrangement.