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First Home Super Saver Scheme

The First Home Super Saver (FHSS) is a scheme that enables Australians to save for their first home inside their superannuation fund. The plan allows for faster saving with the before tax (concessional) treatment within super.

The 2017-18 Budget allowed individuals to make voluntary concessional and non-concessional payments into their super to save for their first home as of 1 July 2017. From 1 July 2018, individuals can apply to release their voluntary payments and associated earnings, to buy their first home.

To apply for the release of these funds, individuals must be at least 18 years old and:
– Never owned property in Australia (i.e., commercial or investment property, vacant land, a lease of land in Australia or a company title interest in land in Australia).
– Never requested the Commissioner to grant a FHSS release authority in relation to the scheme in the past.

An individual who has previously owned property in Australia may still be eligible if the Commissioner of Taxation finds they have suffered a financial hardship which resulted in losing ownership of a property.

When the Commissioner determines that an individual has suffered a financial hardship, they must also satisfy additional criteria at the same time they requested a FHSS determination.

Prior to saving, individuals should first:
– make sure their nominated fund will release the money, and;
– query their fund about any charges, fees or insurance considerations that may apply.

Any FHSS amounts received will also affect an individual’s tax for the year they request to release the funds. These individuals will receive payment summaries, where they will be required to include the assessable and tax-withheld amounts in their tax returns.

Individuals can also check their balances with their funds whenever they wish to see how much they have saved up. This will assist individuals to keep track of the maximum FHSS amounts they can request to be released.

Those individuals wanting a release of funds can apply to the Commissioner of Taxation for a FHSS determination and a release.

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News

Protect yourself from early super release scams

August 7, 2018

When it comes to protecting your nest egg, avoid getting caught out by a promoter of an illegal early release super scheme.

Early release super scheme scams will involve a promoter contacting you and offering to help you access your super early. They usually target individuals under significant financial pressure or those who are not knowledgeable about super laws and the repercussions and penalties involved in illegally accessing your super.

You can only access your super when you meet a condition of release.

Generally, when you:
– Are 65 years old (even if you have not yet retired).
– Reach your preservation age and retire.
– Reach your preservation age and begin a transition to retirement income stream while still working.

There are special circumstances where you may be able to access your super early.

These special circumstances include:
– Severe financial hardship
– Temporary or permanent incapacity
– Compassionate grounds
– Temporary residents leaving Australia
– Super death benefits (inheriting super)
– Super less than $200
– Terminal medical condition

To avoid falling for an illegal early super release scam, be wary if the promoter:
– charges high fees and commissions;
– requests identity documents;
– claims you can access your super and put the funds towards whatever you wish;
– and tries to persuade you to transfer or rollover your super from your existing fund to a self-managed super fund (SMSF) in order to access your super before you are legally entitled.