Back on the 1st of July 2018, a new opportunity arose that allowed older Australians to make contributions to superannuation without meeting the normal age limits and other conditions required for making contributions.
The introduction of “downsizer contributions”, which allows older Australians to contribute up to $300,000 of the sales proceeds of an eligible dwelling to superannuation, has been a real hit.
In the first year of the scheme, approximately $1bn of downsizer contributions were made. But this has increased significantly since then.
In her video address to the SMSF Association National Conference held in early 2022, the (then) Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services, and the Digital Economy, Senator Jane Hume stated that $9.4bn of downsizer contributions have been made.
The ability for older Australians to channel additional money into superannuation has been a winner.
The original purpose behind introducing downsizer contributions was to help address Australia’s housing crisis by encouraging older Australians to downsize their accommodation and move to smaller homes.
Like most things in life, there are conditions attached to making downsizer contributions, including:
The maximum downsizer contribution is $300,000 per person. Therefore, a couple could jointly contribute up to $600,000 of the sale proceeds of their home to superannuation.
When first introduced in July 2018, a person had to be aged 65 or older to be able to make a downsizer contribution.
From 1 July 2022, the minimum age was reduced to 60.
Legislation that sees the minimum age further reduced to 55 received Royal Assent on 12 December 2022, with the reduced age limit taking effect from 1 January 2023.
The opportunity to contribute up to $300,000 of the sale proceeds of a family home to superannuation is very attractive.
With a reduction in the qualifying age limit to 55, we will see more Australians having the opportunity to bolster their retirement savings.
However, even though the age limit for making downsizer contributions has been reduced, the other conditions remain in place.
If planning to sell your family home and contribute surplus proceeds to superannuation, it is important to understand the conditions that need to be met for a downsizer contribution to be eligible.
In addition, for those receiving an income support benefit from the Government, including an age pension, be mindful that selling your family home and spending less on replacement accommodation, whether making a downsizer contribution or not, may result in a reduction of your income support benefit.
When considering downsizing, and potentially making additional contributions to superannuation it is important to seek appropriate financial advice before proceeding.