What is a salary sacrifice arrangement?

Salary sacrifice is an agreement with your employer to contribute a certain amount of your pre-tax salary or potential bonus into your super. The aim is to potentially reduce your tax and boost your super balance at the same time.

The word sacrifice doesn’t really make this strategy sound appealing, but it has some great potential benefits.

How salary sacrifice works – bringing your taxable income down 

Instead of being taxed at your marginal tax rate of up to 47 per cent including Medicare Levy, these payments are generally taxed at the concessional rate of up to 15 per cent. 

If you’re a high income earner, with combined income and concessional super contributions of more than $250,000, your concessional contributions above the $250,000 will be taxed at an additional rate of 15 per cent (30 per cent in total). However, this is still lower than the top marginal tax rate of 47 per cent (including Medicare Levy).

Salary-sacrificed super contributions are part of your concessional (or before-tax) contributions for the financial year. The concessional contributions cap includes mandatory contributions made by your employer and is $27,500 per year, regardless of your age.

The Government’s MoneySmart website has a great super contributions optimiser calculator. It can give you an idea of how salary sacrificing can affect your super and take home pay.

If you like the idea of salary sacrifice, discuss it with your employer and see if you can make an arrangement with them. You should also seek advice from a tax agent or speak to your financial adviser to determine if this strategy suits your financial situation.

Personal deductible contributions

Similar to salary sacrifice arrangement, you can make personal contributions to super and claim a tax deduction for these contributions. By making a personal super contribution and claiming it as a tax deduction, you’ll reduce your taxable income and invest more in super.

The contribution will generally be taxed in the fund at the concessional rate of up to 15 per cent. This is instead of your marginal tax rate which could be up to 47 per cent including Medicare Levy.

An additional 15 per cent tax applies to concessional super contributions if your combined income and concessional contributions exceed $250,000. Depending on your circumstances, this strategy could result in a tax saving of up to 32 per cent and enable you to increase your super.

We recommend you contact us to discuss whether salary sacrifice or personal contributions would work for you.

Contributing some of your pre-tax salary into super could help you to reduce your tax and invest more for your retirement.

Let’s say you have an income of $60,000 and you chose to salary sacrifice $10,000 over the course of the year. Your taxable income would drop to $50,000. This means you’d pay less in tax. 

Salary sacrifice isn’t for everyone though. It is more effective if you earn over $37,000 and it’s important to remember not to go over the $27,500 before-tax contributions limits otherwise you could be paying extra tax.

You’ll need to remember the new cap for super contributions which from July 1 2023, for before-tax contributions, is $27,500 for everyone, regardless of your age. There are tax penalties if you go over this cap. Remember, compulsory employer contributions are included in your concessional contributions cap.

Get set for the future 

Setting up salary sacrifice is normally a straightforward process. If your employer agrees, you’ll need to arrange with them to have some of your pre-tax income paid straight into your super fund. You can access these funds when you reach your preservation age.

The benefits of contributing extra to your super from your pre-tax pay include easier budgeting. The money is not paid into your bank account, so you’re less likely to miss it. Also, you can receive a capped tax rate of 15 per cent or 30 per cent on the ‘sacrificed’ income.

An additional 15 per cent tax applies to concessional super contributions if your combined income and concessional contributions exceed $250,000.

If you’re serious about getting your super up to speed, then salary sacrifice could be helpful. It’s an effective strategy to maximise your super contributions and lower your taxable income at the same time. Your take-home pay could cover today, your sacrificed salary could help fund tomorrow.

To size-up your savings and set up salary sacrifice, contact your employer. You should also seek advice from us first or tax professional.

Source: NAB

Reproduced with permission of National Australia Bank (‘NAB’). This article was originally published at https://www.nab.com.au/personal/life-moments/work/plan-retirement/salary-sacrifice

National Australia Bank Limited. ABN 12 004 044 937 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 230686. The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. Any advice contained in this article has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice on this website, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances.

© 2023 National Australia Bank Limited (“NAB”). All rights reserved.

Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business nor our Licensee takes any responsibility for any action or any service provided by the author. Any links have been provided with permission for information purposes only and will take you to external websites, which are not connected to our company in any way. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.