Under the legislation governing SASS, as a contributing member you must contribute between 1% and 9% of your annual salary to the Scheme.
Your employer deducts contributions from your salary each pay day and forwards them to SASS, where they are credited to your personal account.
The contributions are invested in the investment strategy you have selected (or the Growth Strategy, which is the default strategy, if you have not made a selection). Each month, investment earnings are applied to your personal account based on the returns of your investment strategy.
You can choose to make your contributions as:
- after-tax contributions
- before-tax contributions (salary sacrifice)
- as a mixture of after-tax or before-tax contributions.
After-tax contributions are paid into your scheme after you receive your salary and have paid tax on it.
Before-tax contributions are paid as salary sacrifice contributions. You will need to confirm with your employer if this option is available to you.
In most cases you cannot withdraw from SASS – or cease making contributions – while you remain an eligible employee. However, in certain cases of financial hardship, it may be possible to reduce your contribution rate or cease contributing for a limited time.
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 a member contributes needs to be increased (or grossed up) by the amount of contributions tax, so that the same net contribution to SASS is made as an after-tax contribution.
Concessional contributions include the notional amount of employer contributions made to finance your benefit (including the Basic Benefit and applicable Additional Employer Contributions) and any salary sacrifice contributions you make to SASS. 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 SASS) 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 that 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, these special deeming conditions do not apply if you have moved to a higher benefit category by increasing your personal contribution rate after 12 May 2009. In this instance, State Super would be required to report your actual SASS concessional contributions to the ATO.
In addition, any concessional contributions made to other superannuation funds will not be covered by the deeming provision and will be added to your SASS concessional contributions.
If the total of your reported concessional contributions to SASS and any other superannuation funds exceeds the limit, the excess concessional contribution amount will be taxed at a higher rate.
If your SASS concessional contributions are below the capped amount for the financial year, we will report the actual amount of concessional contributions to the ATO.
Will you be paying any surcharge?
Your Annual Benefit Statement will show your surcharge debt – if you have any – and detail any transactions on your account.
What is the surcharge?
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. (See the section on 'How was my surcharge calculated?' in STC Fact Sheet 1: Information about the Commonwealth contributions surcharge)
Under Commonwealth legislation, no new surcharge assessments will be made in respect of employer superannuation contributions made for employer-financed benefits accruing to members after 30 June 2005.
However, the surcharge remains payable in respect of:
- any surcharge liability that existed at 30 June 2005
- any subsequent ATO surcharge assessments in respect of surchargeable contributions up to 30 June 2005.
Once you reach age 65, you can choose to exit from the scheme, even if you are still working. You can choose to receive the payment of your accrued benefit immediately or leave it deferred within the scheme (as a lump sum only) and have it paid to you at a later date.
The deferred lump sum is adjusted for investment earnings and management charges up to the date of payment.
If you exit your current scheme before retirement your employer will still be required under Commonwealth legislation to pay Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions to a scheme on your behalf.
Once you reach age 70, no further contributions can be accepted and benefits cease to accrue.
The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) commenced in 1992. The compulsory SG minimum was 3% of an employee's salary in 1992 and had 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 as shown in the table below.
Ensuring you receive your SG entitlement
Since the SG was introduced in 1992, the State Super schemes have implemented measures to calculate and compare the employer-financed benefits (including the Basic Benefit and any applicable Additional Employer Contributions (AECs)) 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 Superannuation Guarantee (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, an additional payment is made representing the difference. This is called the Superannuation Guarantee shortfall amount. The amount of any Superannuation Guarantee shortfall payment will be shown on your Annual Benefit 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 Benefit 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.
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.