Tax benefit for Spouse Contribution to SuperannuationThe Spouse Superannuation Contributions Tax Offset was introduced to provide a way for spouses to help build the superannuation accumulations of the other in eligible circumstances.

A spouse contribution refers to when a person makes a contribution into their spouse’s superannuation account. Provided certain income thresholds are met, the contributing spouse can receive a tax rebate of up to $540 on the contribution.

Whilst there are no limits on the age of the person making the contribution, the receiving spouse must be under 70. Further, if the receiving spouse is over 65, they must meet a work test before the contribution can be received their behalf.

Spouse contributions are included in the recipients non-concessional contribution cap.

Who is a spouse?

A ‘spouse’ includes both a legal and de facto husband or wife. A de facto spouse is described as one who lives with another person on a genuine domestic basis as a husband or wife. As of 4 December 2008, the definition includes same sex relationships.

Persons who are separated, even though legally married, do not satisfy the definition of spouse and therefore cannot make a spouse contribution.

How much is the Spouse Contribution Rebate?

The tax rebate an individual can claim if they make superannuation contributions for their spouse depends on their spouse’s assessable income – refer to the following table 1:

Spouse’s assessable income Tax rebate allowable
Up to $10,800 18 per cent of the lesser of:
– the contributions made
– $3,000
(maximum tax rebate of $540)
Between $10,801 and $13,800 18 per cent of the lesser of:
– the contribution made
– $3,000 less $1 of assessable
income earned by the spouse
in excess of $10,800
Greater than $13,800 No rebate is available

1 The provisions facilitating this tax offset are revised from time to time and the ATO website should be searched at the relevant time if you want to check on entitlements at a particular time.

Your spouse’s assessable income would include the assessable portion of superannuation pensions less any deductible amount, grossed up franked dividends, reportable fringe benefits and any other assessable income.

What you need to do

The experienced advisers at Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd can guide you as to the strategic effectiveness of seeking to improve the superannuation position of your spouse whilst taking advantage of this offset. We work to a mantra that: ‘we listen, we understand; and we have solutions’ – and if you care to benefit from taking personalised, professional wealth management advice form our advisers, please call 07 3421 3456, or use the Contact Us facility to arrange an appointment.

(This article, originally posted in August 2009, was updated in April 2013 and has been occasionally revised/ refreshed since then, most recently in January 2020.)