Since 1 July 2018, if you’re age 65 or over and sell your home, you can now contribute up to $300,000 into your super even if you’re currently restricted by other super rules. This is especially beneficial if you have retired and wish to downsize the family home and use the equity in your home to help fund your retirement. It can be a great opportunity and you don’t even need to buy another house with the proceeds of the sale.
How Does it Work?
You can use the money from the sale of your house to make a ‘downsizer contribution’ to super of up to $300,000 for singles or $600,000 (combined) for a couple. This applies to anyone over 65 and you don’t need to meet the usual work test to make super contributions.
What Types of Properties are Included?
The property must be located in Australia. It doesn’t need to be your current home – it can be your, or your partner’s, former home as long as you or your partner have owned it for more than 10 years and lived in it at some point. An investment property that neither of you have lived in is not eligible. Also, the property does not need to be owned by both members of a couple for both of you to make a contribution of up to $300,000 each to your super.
Unfortunately, the sale proceeds from a houseboat, caravan or mobile home cannot be used.
Who is Eligible?
You are eligible to take advantage of this scheme if you are age 65 or over.
Unlike non-concessional contributions, the good news is that you don’t need to be working and there are no upper age limits to making downsizer contributions. Also, the current total super balance test of $1.6 million and the $100,000 non-concessional contributions cap restrictions don’t apply which makes it a great option if you want to contribute more to super and are currently ineligible because of these restrictions. You can only make a downsizer contribution from the sale of one home and the contribution must be made within 90 days of receiving the proceeds of the sale.
One benefit of making a downsizer contribution and investing your money in super is the potential tax savings. That is, when you draw down on your super as an account-based pension you do not pay tax on investment earnings, on amounts up to $1.6 million.
What do You Need to do?
If you are considering selling your home and making a downsizer contribution you should:
- seek advice from a financial planner as there may be lifestyle or financial considerations they can help you work through
- provide your super fund with the Australian Taxation Office’s ‘Downsizer contribution into super’ form either before, or at the time of, making your downsizer contribution
- make your downsizer contribution within 90 days of receiving the proceeds of the sale of your property, which is usually at the date of settlement.
Please note: if your family home is currently exempt from the Centrelink assets test and you sell it and put the proceeds into super — your age pension entitlement could be affected.
Watch our video online for more information
Case Study: Downsizers Amanda and Daryl
Amanda, age 62 and Daryl, age 63 are married. Amanda bought an apartment as her principal home in 1990 for $150,000.
She lived there for seven years, got married and her husband Daryl moves in. The couple subsequently move into Daryl’s home which he purchased in 1997.
In 2022, Amanda turns 65 and is still working. Daryl is fully retired. She sells the apartment for $800,000. Amanda wants to maximise super contributions for both Daryl and herself using the sale proceeds.
Amanda and Daryl can each make a downsizer contribution of $300,000 to their super because:
- Both Amanda and Daryl are over 65 at the time of making the contribution.
- Downsizer contributions are not subject to the work test. The fact that Daryl is no longer working is not relevant.
- Amanda owned the apartment for more than 10 years just prior to selling.
- The property is not required to be owned by both of them.
Making the contribution
Amanda and Daryl must make the downsizer contributions within 90 days of settlement. They must each elect to treat their contribution as a downsizer contribution by using the approved ‘Downsizer contribution into super’ form which needs to be provided to their respective super fund before or when making the contribution.
Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd (Bridges). ABN 60 003 474 977. ASX Participant. AFSL 240837. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making an investment decision based on this information, you should assess your own circumstances or consult a financial planner or a registered tax agent. Examples are illustrative only and are subject to the assumptions and qualifications disclosed. Part of the IOOF group. In referring customers to Bridges, Southern Cross Credit Union Ltd. does not accept responsibility for any acts, omissions or advice of Bridges and its authorised representatives.