Individuals in financial distress because of the coronavirus pandemic are able to self-certify and apply for early release of up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20, and again in 2020-21 (up until 24 September 2020).

To be eligible for early release, you should ensure you meet the eligibility criteria:

  • You are unemployed, or
  • You are eligible for jobseeker, parenting payment or special benefit or farm household allowance, or
  • On or after 1 January 2020, you were made redundant, or
  • Your working hours were reduced by 20% or more, or
  • For sole traders, your income reduced by 20% or more.

The early release of superannuation measure is available to Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens with Australian held super. Eligible temporary visa holders can also apply for a single release of up to $10,000 before 1 July 2020.

We’ve had a number of questions from clients asking if they can access $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and 2020-21 and then recontribute the amount before the end of the financial year to claim a tax deduction.

If you have withdrawn more than you need, you can recontribute this amount under normal contribution rules. However, if you are withdrawing superannuation with the intent to recontribute the amounts to maximise your tax deductions, we advise against this as it will attract the ATO’s attention. If you have accessed your superannuation early and recontribute some or all of the amount, ensure that you have the documentation in place to prove that you met the eligibility criteria for early release and were in financial distress. Harsh penalties apply to those who make false declarations.