There are several ways you can make your compulsory personal contributions to SSS.

Provided your employer agrees, your compulsory personal contributions to SSS can be made:

  • entirely from your before-tax salary (salary-sacrifice concessional contributions)
  • entirely from your after-tax salary (non-concessional contributions)
  • from a combination of your 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 a member contributes needs to be increased (or grossed up) by the amount of contributions tax, so that the same net contribution to SSS is made as an after-tax contribution.

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 SSS Fact Sheet 24: Salary sacrifice your compulsory personal contributions to SSS 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 SSS Fact Sheet 23: 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.

Note: Aware Financial Services Australia Limited (Aware Financial Services) (ABN 86 003 742 756) holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL number 238430) and is able to provide you with financial product advice. Aware Financial Services is owned by Aware Super Pty Ltd as trustee of Aware Super. State Super does not pay fees to, nor receives any commissions from Aware Financial Services for financial planning and member seminar services provided to State Super members. Neither State Super nor the New South Wales Government take any responsibility for the services offered by Aware Financial Services and its related entities, nor do they guarantee the performance of any service or product provided by Aware Financial Services and its related entities.

Arrears of contributions can occur for a number of reasons, such as deferral of contributions during a period of leave without pay. Other reasons include a change in employment status (such as from part-time to full-time) or a delay in your employer adjusting contribution deductions from your salary after a pay increase.

Interest is payable on arrears and is calculated at the scheme's Fund Earning Rate, which is compounded annually. For more information, please refer to SSS Fact Sheet 22: Contribution arrears.

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 SSS. 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 SSS) are treated differently when it comes to the concessional contributions cap.

Under superannuation regulations, members of these schemes are covered by a deeming provision. This 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, any concessional contributions made to other superannuation funds will not be covered by the deeming provision and will be added to your SSS concessional contributions.

If the total of your reported concessional contributions to SSS and any other superannuation funds exceeds the limit, the excess concessional contribution amount will be taxed at a higher rate.

If your SSS concessional contributions are below the capped amount for the financial year, we will report the actual amount of concessional contributions to the ATO.

For more information, please see SSS Fact Sheet 23: Concessional contributions cap.

After-tax (non concessional) contributions limit

The after-tax contributions 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 amount, you will be subject to 47% excess non-concessional contributions tax.

You may continue to contribute and accrue superannuation benefits in SSS between the ages of 65 and 70.

Once you reach age 65, you can choose to exit the scheme while still working and receive payment of your normal retirement benefit. This can be paid immediately or deferred within the scheme (as a lump sum only), to be paid at a later date. If you pursue this course of action, you cannot take the withdrawal benefit as this is only available on resignation. If you choose to defer your benefit it will be adjusted for investment earnings and management charges up to the date of payment.

If you exit your scheme before retirement, your employer will still be required under Commonwealth legislation to pay Superannuation Guarantee contributions to a scheme on your behalf.

Once you reach age 70, SSS can no longer accept contributions and benefits cease to accrue. Only the normal retirement benefit is payable once you reach age 70. The option to take a withdrawal benefit instead of the normal retirement benefit is only available if you exit employment before age 70.

For more information, please refer to SSS Fact Sheet 20: Contributions and benefits up to age 70.

If you have an outstanding surcharge tax debt, the balance of your debt and changes to your account will be shown on your Annual Statement.

The superannuation contributions surcharge ("surcharge") is a Commonwealth Government tax that was levied on surchargeable superannuation contributions of higher income individuals in the financial years from 1997 to 2005.

The surcharge was calculated using your 'adjusted taxable income' for a financial year. If your adjusted taxable income exceeded a minimum threshold in a financial year, the surcharge 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.

Government Co-contributions

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.