There are several ways you can make your compulsory personal contributions (6% of your annual Salary of Office (superable salary)) to PSS.
Provided your employer agrees, your compulsory personal contributions to PSS can be made:
- entirely from your before-tax salary (concessional contributions)
- entirely from your after-tax salary (non-concessional contributions)
- from a combination of before-tax and after-tax salary.
Salary sacrifice to superannuation is an arrangement between an employee and an employer where the employee has superannuation contributions deducted from their salary before tax is deducted.
These contributions are treated as employer contributions and attract the Commonwealth Government's 15% contributions tax on entry to the scheme. This means the amount you contribute needs to be increased (or grossed up) by an amount representing the contributions tax, so that the same net contribution to PSS is made as an after-tax contribution.
How to calculate your salary sacrifice contribution amount
To calculate your salary sacrifice contribution amount, simply divide your 6% compulsory after-tax contribution amount by 0.85. For instance, if you currently contribute $4,200 to PSS in after-tax contributions, you would need to increase this amount to $4,941 via salary-sacrifice contributions (that is, $4,200 ÷ 0.85 = $4,941). You need to arrange this grossing up of your contributions with your employer as part of your salary packaging arrangements.
Whether salary sacrifice is right for you depends on your individual circumstances. An easy-to-use calculator on the STC website shows the effect of making salary sacrifice contributions, after-tax contributions or a combination of both. Alternatively, we recommend you seek professional financial planning advice.
Is salary sacrifice right for you?
Whether salary sacrifice is right for you depends on your individual circumstances. There is an easy-to-use calculator on our website that shows the effect of making contributions via salary sacrifice, after-tax contributions or a combination of both. Alternatively, we recommend you seek professional financial planning advice.
- Compare the different options using the salary sacrifice calculator
- Refer to PSS Fact Sheet 18: Salary sacrifice your compulsory personal contributions to PSS for more information about how salary sacrificing works
- It's important to remember that salary sacrifice contributions are counted in full towards the concessional contributions cap. For more information on concessional contribution limits see PSS Fact Sheet 16: Concessional Contributions Cap
- Seek professional financial advice. An Aware Super financial planner can recommend an appropriate salary sacrifice strategy for your personal situation. Your first appointment is free of cost or obligation and will give you a chance to consider creating a plan for you that is specific to your needs, goals and situation. There will be a fee for this personal financial plan, and the fee will be discussed with you before any work is commenced. For an appointment, call Aware Super on 1800 620 305 or visit retire.aware.com.au/statesuper.
After-tax contributions are paid into your scheme after you have received your salary and paid tax on it.
For information regarding the treatment of tax, please refer to STC Fact Sheet 3: Taxation.
If your personal contributions fall into arrears for any reason, the amounts unpaid may be deducted from your salary or scheme benefits.
Contributions made to reduce a contribution arrears debt cannot be paid directly to your PSS account by remitting the money to the administrator, Mercer. A payment arrangement is to be made through your employer who will remit the contributions.
Please refer to PSS Fact Sheet 2: Contributions and superable salary for more information.
Before tax (concessional contributions) limit
Concessional contributions include the notional amount of employer contributions made to finance your benefit (including the Basic Benefit and any applicable Additional Employer Contributions) and any salary sacrifice contributions you make to PSS. There is an annual limit or cap on the total amount of contributions that you can make to a superannuation scheme that is treated on a concessionally taxed basis.
Concessional contributions are generally known as pre-tax contributions.
Your concessional contributions will also include any employer or salary-sacrifice contributions made to any other superannuation funds.
Special deeming provisions for defined benefit schemes
Defined benefit funds (such as PSS) are treated differently when it comes to the concessional contributions cap.
Under superannuation regulations, members of these schemes are covered by a deeming provision, which means if you exceed the annual concessional contributions cap, your excess contributions are deemed to be within the cap and will be reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as the capped amount.
However, any concessional contributions made to other superannuation funds will not be covered by the deeming provision and will be added to your PSS concessional contributions.
If the total of your reported concessional contributions to PSS and any other superannuation funds exceeds the limit, the excess concessional contribution amount will be taxed at a higher rate.
If your PSS concessional contributions are below the capped amount for the financial year, we will report the actual amount of concessional contributions to the ATO.
Please refer to PSS Fact Sheet 16: Concessional Contributions Cap for more information.
After-tax (non concessional) contributions limit
The after-tax (non-concessional) contribution cap is currently $100,000 per annum. Commonwealth legislation allows members under the age of 65 to contribute up to $300,000 over a three-year period. If your contributions are over the non-concessional contributions cap, you will be subject to an excess non-concessional contributions tax at the rate of 47%.
You may continue to contribute and accrue superannuation benefits in PSS between the ages of 65 and 70.
However, once you reach age 65, you can choose to exit the scheme while still working and either be paid your accrued benefit immediately or leave it deferred within the scheme (as a lump sum only), for payment at a later date. The deferred lump sum benefit is adjusted for investment earnings at the Fund Earning Rate and management charges up to the date of payment.
If you do exit from your current scheme before retirement, your employer will still be required under Commonwealth legislation to pay Superannuation Guarantee contributions to another complying superannuation fund on your behalf.
Once you reach 70, the PSS cannot accept contributions and benefits cease to accrue.
If you have an outstanding surcharge tax debt, your Annual Statement will show the balance of your debt and changes to your account.
The superannuation contributions surcharge ('surcharge') is a Commonwealth Government tax that was levied on the surchargeable superannuation contributions of higher-income individuals in the financial years from 1997 to 2005.
The surcharge was calculated using the adjusted taxable income for a financial year. If your adjusted taxable income exceeded a minimum threshold in a financial year, the surcharge was applied to your surchargeable contributions.
The Commonwealth legislation has been amended to effectively remove any new surcharge assessments in respect of employer superannuation contributions made for employer-financed benefits accruing to members after 30 June 2005.
However, surcharge remains payable in respect of any surcharge liability that existed at 30 June 2005, and any subsequent ATO surcharge assessments in respect of surchargeable contributions up to 30 June 2005.
For additional information please see STC Fact Sheet 1: Information about the Commonwealth contributions surcharge.
If you are eligible and make personal after-tax contributions to your super, the Commonwealth Government will match those contributions with a co-contribution (up to a certain limit).
To find out how to calculate the maximum contribution amount and if you are eligible for the Government co-contribution, please visit www.ato.gov.au or see STC Fact Sheet 13: Information about the Commonwealth Government's superannuation co-contribution and low income superannuation tax offset.
Low income superannuation tax offset (LISTO)
The Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO) is a contribution tax refund of up to $500 annually for low-income earners and is payable in respect of concessional contributions made in the 2017-18 and future income years. The LISTO was previously known as the Low Income Super Contribution (LISC).
If you earn less than $37,000 a year, and you or your employer make concessional (before tax) contributions on your behalf, then you can expect a refund of the contributions tax deducted from your superannuation account. It is calculated at a rate of 15% of your total eligible concessional contributions for the year, up to a maximum of $500.
For further information on the LISTO see STC Fact Sheet 13: Information about the Commonwealth Government's superannuation co-contribution and low income superannuation tax offset.
The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) commenced in 1992. The compulsory SG minimum was 3% of an employee's salary in 1992 and increased to 9% by 2002. Recent legislation provides for the SG rate to increase gradually to 12% between 1 July 2013 and 1 July 2025.
Ensuring you receive your SG entitlement
Since the SG was introduced in 1992, STC has implemented measures to calculate and compare the employer-financed benefits (including the Basic Benefit and any applicable Additional Employer Contributions (AEC)) payable to members against the SG. This is to make sure that members receive their SG-equivalent entitlements. If your State Super employer-financed benefits are less than the SG, your benefits will be increased to the SG level through an additional benefit called the SG shortfall amount.
How your scheme measures your entitlements
The Basic Benefit you are entitled to (generally up to 3% of your final average salary for each year of service) and any applicable AECs are added to your employer-financed benefit in your contributory scheme. If the total falls below the SG benefit requirements, the SG shortfall amount makes up the difference. The amount of any SG shortfall payment will be shown on your Annual Statement, but only when it is relevant. If your scheme benefits exceed the SG entitlement, then the shortfall amount will not be applicable and will not be included on your Annual Statement. As the SG increases over the next ten years, your scheme entitlement will continue to be measured against the SG entitlements at the increased level.