Top up my super

Investing extra money into your super is one way you can help set yourself up for a more comfortable retirement. As well as the potential tax advantages of investing your money in super, you’ll also benefit from the boost to your super balance. Between now and the time you retire, your super will be working hard for you, earning a return on the money you’ve invested.

There are two main ways to make extra contributions and top up your super.

1. Before-tax contributions:

Also known as salary sacrificing, this is money you put into your super before any tax is taken out. There are two good reasons to salary sacrifice: you’ll give your super balance a boost and you’ll pay less tax.

Did you know? If you have less than $500,000 in super and haven’t used all your annual before-tax contribution caps over the previous five years, you can make catch up contributions using unused cap amounts. This is known as the ‘carry forward rule’. This initiative started in the 2018-19 financial year, which means three years of catch up contributions can be used in the 2021-22 financial year, with the full five years of catch up contributions available in the 2023-24 financial year.

2. After-tax contributions: 

These contributions from your take home pay aren’t taxed within super. One of the great benefits of super is that earnings are taxed at a low rate. So unlike other types of investments, any earnings you make on your super will be taxed at a maximum of 15% instead of your marginal tax rate. For example, if you invest your money into shares on the stock market, your earnings could be taxed at a rate of up to 47% (including levies), depending on your income. In comparison, any investment earnings in super are only taxed at 15% (catch being, you can’t access this until you reach preservation age).

Small change now can mean a big change later
Adding an extra $10 a week to your super, could mean an extra $18,179 in retirement1. Head to the Super Guru website to check what small changes you can make now to save big later.

Did you know? If you haven’t used all your before-tax caps by the end of the financial year, you can boost your super with a personal contribution and claim it as a tax deduction. And if you earn less than $56,112 pa adding after-tax money to super may qualify you to receive a government co-contribution of up to $500 in the 2021-22 financial year. Check out this factsheet for more information.


How to get started 

Decide which payment option works for you

  • Salary sacrifice: you can ask your employer to make payments for you as a payroll deduction.
  • After-tax contributions: you can make payments yourself via BPAY®.

Make a payment through my employer (salary sacrifice)

Print out the Authority to deduct from my pay form. Fill in the form and give to your employer.

Make a payment with BPAY® (after-tax contributions)

Log in to your bank account to set up a BPAY® payment. You can do this as a one off or a regular direct debit.

Case study | Using the carry forward rule

Patrick's before-tax contribution cap for the 2019–20 year is $25,000. His before-tax contributions during that year, including his employer's Super Guarantee payments, were $15,000 (which is $10,000 short of the cap).

In May 2021, Patrick sells his boat for $10,000 which he adds to his super. He claims this contribution as a tax deduction by sending his super fund a completed Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions. Although his total employer and salary sacrifice contributions for the 2020-21 year totalled to $25,000 (the before-tax contributions cap), Patrick has $10,000 worth of unused before-tax cap amounts from 2019–20, so he did not exceed his cap for the 2020-21 financial year.

Things to consider

Did you access your super as part of the COVID-19 early release of super program? You can now recontribute up to the amount you received without it counting towards your non-concessional cap. Check out the Australian Taxation Office website for more information.

Before topping up your super you should consider what’s best for you.

The MoneySmart Super Contribution Optimiser helps you work out what type of contribution will give your super the biggest boost. Contributions may be subject to limits or contribution caps and criteria set by the government. If you’re aged over 67 to 74, you must work at least 40 hours in any 30 consecutive day period during the current financial year to make after-tax contributions to your super. This is called the ‘work test’.

There’s an exemption for the work test if you have less than $300,000 in super. This means you can also make these contributions for up to 12 months after the financial year when you last met the work test, provided that we receive your contributions before 28 days after the end of the month in which you turned 75. You also must not have used this exemption in a previous financial year.

If you’re unsure, don’t forget we’re here to help. You can give us a call on 13 64 63 or email 

If your needs are more complex, we can put you in touch with a financial adviser from Mine Super Financial Advice.



1 Calculation made using Super Guru calculator and based on a 35-year-old person putting an additional $10 each week into their super account as an after-tax contribution, assuming 4.80% pa growth over 32 years. Calculation as at June 2021. 

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