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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

Ineligible downsizer contributions and how they are administered

August 12, 2019

When a downsizer contribution is ineligible, the fund must re-assess the amount in accordance with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 and the trust deed. This is to determine if the amount can be retained as a non-concessional contribution.

Provided the trust deed allows so, the fund can return the contribution to the member or adjust the prior downsizing contributions to nil and report this amount as a non-concessional contribution when the member meets the age and work tests.

When a contribution can’t be returned or returned in full:
Members who no longer have a super interest with the fund, or an insufficient return amount, must have their contribution re-reported as non-concessional, even if the contribution was returned because the member did not meet the age/work tests. Some of the contribution may be an excess non-concessional contribution (ENCC). Regardless of the age of the member, if this is the case the member will receive an ENCC determination or when the fund can’t return the full amount. Members will continue to have access to all review rights under the ENCC scheme. Even if the member is in pension phase, the funds will still need to return an ineligible downsizer contribution if it cannot be accepted.

When a fund receives a release authority:
An amount released under these circumstances is treated as a super lump sum as it is a portion of the member’s super interest. Being in pension phase doesn’t prevent a fund from complying with the release authority although it may mean the full amount can’t be released, as the available balance may be lower than the amount stated in the release authority. Where the member’s available balance is lower than the release authority amount, the fund must release the maximum amount available.

The ATO monitors the rectification of this contribution reporting. Where funds don’t act within legislative timeframes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) may be contacted.