Where couples have significantly different superannuation account values but are of a similar age, there are options available that assist in ‘evening out the gap’.
Where one spouse is close to or likely to reach their transfer balance cap (between $1.6m and $1.7m), redirecting superannuation contributions to the spouse with the lower balance can assist in maximising their combined tax-free income in retirement. Together, a couple can accumulate between $3.2 and $3.4 million tax-free, under current legislation.
You can make a contribution to your spouse’s superannuation fund up to their non-concessional cap (currently up to $110,000 depending on their superannuation balance). If they are under 67 years of age, you might also be able to use the bring-forward rule and contribute up to 3 years’ worth of non-concessional contributions in one year (up to $330,000 depending on their superannuation balance).
If your spouse is not working or a low income earner (assessable income less than $40,000), there is also a tax offset of up to $540 available on contributions you make on their behalf.
If your spouse is under 65 and not retired, you can split your superannuation with them. Up to 85% of your concessional superannuation contributions from your employer or salary sacrifice each year, can be directed to your spouse’s fund.
Actively addressing the value of each spouse’s superannuation account might also help to manage some of the issues that can occur when a spouse dies. While superannuation will pass to the beneficiary nominated in the death benefit nomination or estate, this does not always occur in the most practical or tax effective way. The superannuation rules in this area are complex, particularly when there have been family breakdowns in the past. It’s important to seek advice to ensure your superannuation is managed in a way that delivers the best possible outcome for your beneficiaries.