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Additional 15% tax for high-income earners (Division 293)

Section: 4.4

4.4 Additional 15% tax for high-income earners (Div 293)

Division 293 tax is an additional 15% tax on superannuation contributions which reduces the tax concession for higher income earners. Individuals whose combined income and low-tax (concessional) superannaution contributions are greater than the Division 293 threshold will be subject to Division 293 tax.

Year Division 293 threshold
From 1 July 2017 $250,000

The following are exempt from Division 293 tax:

  • non-concessional contributions
  • excess concessional contributions cap or excess contributions that is disregarded by the Commissioner
  • members classified as state higher level office holders who make super contributions to a constitutionally protected fund (CPF)
  • Justices of the High Court, or justices or judges of a court created by the parliament, who make super contributions to a superannuation fund established under the Judge's Pension Act 1968

Notice of assessment

The ATO will use an individual's tax return and superannuation contributions information to determine if Division 293 tax is payable. The ATO will issue a notice of assessment stating the amount of tax payable. To pay the tax, an individual can elect to release funds from their superannuation by completing a Division 293 election form. This form can be obtained and lodged through an individual's MyGov account. Alternatively, the tax can be paid from non-superannuation funds. The tax is generally payable within 21 days.

For defined benefit funds, Division 293 tax is generally deferred for payment until 21 days after the first benefit is paid from the member's superannuation interest.

How is Division 293 taxation determined?

A member is liable to pay Division 293 tax if their income and low-tax superannuation contributions exceed the Division 293 tax threshold for the year ($250,000 since 1 July 2017).

Division 293 Income

The components of the income calculations are:

The total of:

  • taxable income (assessable income minus allowable deductions)
  • total reportable fringe benefits amounts
  • net financial investment loss
  • net rental property loss
  • net amount on which family trust distribution tax has been paid

Less,

  • super lump sum taxed elements with a zero tax rate
  • assessable first home super saver released amount

Super contributions counted for Division 293 tax purposes

Super contributions equal a member's concessional contributions minus any excess concessional contributions. The concessional contributions counted for Division 293 tax purposes include:

  • employer contributed amounts
  • other family and friend contributions
  • assessable foraging fund amounts
  • assessable amounts transferred from reserves
  • personal contributions for which they have been allowed a deduction
  • defined benefit contributions.

Example:

Elizabeth's income and low-tax superannuation contributions are as follows:

Financial year 2020/21
Salary $215,000
Net amount on which family trust distribution tax has been paid $20,000
Elizabeth an income component for Division 293 tax purposes of: $235,000
   
Super Guarantee contributions  $20,425
Salary sacrifice $4,575
Total concessional superannuation contributions: $25,000* 
   
Elizabeth's total Income for DIV 293 purposes is: $260,000
Excess income above the Division 293 threshold is: $10,000
Where income for Division 293 exceeds the threshold, an additional tax of 15% applies to the lesser of:  
Income above $250,000, and $10,000
Total low tax contributions $25,000 
   
Elizabeth will therefore be liable for tax of 15% x $10,000  $1,500
*The general concessional contributions cap is $27,500 from 1 July 2021

What happens if a member has a defined benefit?

A member's low tax contributions will be the total of any concessional contributions (i.e., employer contributions or salary sacrifice) to an accumulation account, plus any defined benefit contributions, calculated in accordance with a formula specified by the government, less any excess concessional contributions.

For some defined benefit members, notional taxed contributions are capped at the concessional contributions threshold. From the 2017-18 financial year, a member's defined benefit contributions for the purpose of calculating their low tax contributions are equal to their 'notional taxed contributions', but without any cap applying.

For instance, if a member's defined benefit notional taxed contributions calculated without the concessional contribution cap applying is $40,000, and the concessional contribution cap is $25,000 and a cap applies to the member, then the defined benefit concessional contributions are $25,000 but members defined benefit low tax contribution are $40,000.

*The general concessional contributions cap is $27,500 from 1 July 2021

This technical resource is intended for the use of financial advisers only. It is current as at the date of publication but may be subject to change. This publication has been prepared without taking into account a potential investor's objectives, financial situation, needs or objectives. Before making a recommendation based on this material, you should consider its appropriateness based on the client's objectives, financial situation and needs. Rainmaker Group is not a registered tax agent under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009. Your client should refer to a registered tax agent before relying on information published herein that may impact their tax obligations, liabilities or entitlements.

Last modified: Thursday, July 1, 2021