You might also be able to reduce your tax and boost your super balance through salary sacrifice. This is an agreement with your employer to contribute a certain amount of your pre-tax salary or potential bonus into your super. The word sacrifice doesn’t really make this strategy sound appealing, but it has some great benefits.
Instead of being taxed at your marginal tax rate, these contributions are generally taxed at the concessional rate of up to 15 per cent (an additional 15 per cent tax applies to concessional super contributions if your combined income and concessional contributions exceed $250,000). For example, if you earn $95,000 a year, you could save up to 24c in every dollar sacrificed.
If you’re a high income earner, you’ll be taxed an extra 15 per cent on your before-tax contributions (30 per cent in total). However, this is still lower than your marginal tax rate of 47 per cent (including the Medicare Levy).
Making before tax contributions to super can be a tax effective way of building wealth. Before tax (or concessional) contributions also include mandatory contributions made by your employer and are capped at $25,000 per year regardless of your age. Penalties apply for exceeding the cap.
The Government’s MoneySmart website has a great super contributions optimiser calculator that can give you an idea of how salary sacrificing can affect your super and take home pay.
If you like the idea of salary sacrificing, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your employer and see if you can make an arrangement with them to do this.
You should also seek advice from a tax agent or speak to your financial adviser to determine if this strategy suits your financial situation.