Take control of your retirement finances: The free ATO resource you didn’t know about

Nov 22, 2023
Source: Getty Images

Here’s an easy way to save hundreds of dollars, getting basic but important financial information to help you navigate your way through the retirement income system.

Accountants and financial advisers regularly field questions from their clients, asking for details about how much they have in super and how close they might be to the various limits.

There’s also the underlying and usually unspoken question, “Am I getting a good deal with my super fund”?

The contribution information is sometimes delivered with an account for the time spent in digging up the information and invariably, it takes a couple of days to gather the data and to share it with the client.

Few people are aware of a completely free ATO resource that anyone can access. The service instantly provides individuals with precise details on contributions, balances and importantly, how close you are to the various annual thresholds.

It’s particularly useful for those with multiple superannuation funds because it gathers all the information from all of your funds and presents it all in one place.

It’s also a great check for those running a self managed super fund. Exactly what does the ATO have on their system about me and my fund and is it correct?

Accessed via the MyGov portal, you’ll need to be linked to the ATO service which you can do with information stuffed in your filing cabinet at home.

Identification will require your normal personal information but also, copies of previous income tax assessment notices and bank statements. You feed information form those documents into the system and it will immediately grant you access.

While the service can be also used to lodge and manage tax returns, the second tab marked “superannuation” hides a treasure trove of up-to-date information held by the ATO.

It includes contributions made, differentiating between the tax deductible concessional contributions and the non concessional contributions.

Importantly, it tells you how much you have left before you hit the limits (called caps) and it allows you to easily work out your limits under the 5 year carry-over rules for concessional contributions and the 3 year bring-forward rules for non-concessional payments.

The 5 year carry over rule allows you to make a big payment into superannuation and claim it as a tax deduction. To be eligible, you need to have a super balance less than $500,000. In theory, up to $132,500 can be contributed and claimed but this is reduced by any amount over the period that has been claimed already. That includes the bosses compulsory 11 percent, salary sacrificed amounts and money you paid in and claimed as a deduction. You need to be under 67 to do this unless you’re still working.

The three year rule is where you can contribute up to $110,000 per annum of after tax money and in this case, bring forward the next two financial years, making a grand total of $330,000. This can be done all the way up to 75 years of age but restrictions apply if you are getting close to the upper transfer balance cap of $1.9 million.

What a lovely problem to have!

For those with large superannuation balances, the service shows the total superannuation balance or TSB which will form the basis of the new 15 percent extra tax, expected to apply from 2025.

If you’re still slaving away, you can also see your employer’s contributions to the fund, listed in date order. It will highlight whether your employer makes super contributions on a regular basis or if they apply the current rule that states that quarterly super contributions need to be made by the 28th day following the end of a quarter.

Finally, the service allows you to compare your fund to a range of other MySuper funds. The table shows fees, performance and other information on 64 different funds and calculates specific values based on your balance.

Just be aware that the MySuper option is the default investment setting for most employer super funds and may not apply to your fund, particularly if you are under the wing of a financial adviser.

Like a dodgy steak-knife commercial from the 80’s, ‘But wait, there’s more’!

It can also assist in transferring or consolidating your existing accounts into the one fund.

Click the link and it will get things underway for you.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up