Australian Superannuation – Ten Must-know Facts About Super Rules

Ten must-know facts on superannuation

Here is a handy guide for 10 must know facts about Australian superannuation rules:

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Superannuation Guarantee (SG)

Under Superannuation Guarantee laws, it’s mandatory for employers to contribute to a super fund for each employee. The rate for SG contributions now stands at 9.5%. It makes your concessional contributions cap.

Tax on concessional (before-tax) contributions

The employer’s compulsory SG contributions and any before-tax contributions that you make (concessional contributions) are taxed at a maximum of 15% when super contributions are made. If your annual adjusted taxable income is greater than $250,000, concessional contributions get an additional 15% tax.

The special tax rate on investment earnings

Applies to earnings on super fund investments too (at less than 15%), but is exempted if a retirement phase pension is drawn from this account.

Co-contribution

 If you make non-concessional (after-tax) contributions to your super fund, depending on income level, the government may also put some tax-free money into your fund.

Contributions caps

Your annual super contributions amount is limited. If the contribution exceeds the limit, and you don’t withdraw the excess, a penalty tax (excess contributions tax) should be paid.  

Fund choice

Generally, you can choose the super fund you want your employer to contribute to or the employer will choose it.

Investment choice

 Generally, you can decide how you want your money invested. If not, a default investment option would be considered.

Member reporting

Your super fund must send you regular (at least annual) reports on the performances of the fund and your account.

Preservation

 You generally can’t withdraw your money (or benefits) from the super fund until you retire or after your preservation age; this may differ.

Tax-free for over-60s

 When you retire on or after 60, you pay no tax on superannuation benefits, unless you’re a long-term public servant. When you receive a super pension in retirement phase (a superannuation income stream) from your super fund, the earnings on the assets that finance your retirement phase pension are exempt from tax, even if you retire before 60.

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Ensure that Your Super Benefits Work the Best for You

Ensure that Your Super Benefits Work the Best for You

Most people, especially those who are new to Australia, are stumped by information related to Super Benefits and  the Superannuation Guarantee. Whether it’s related to entitlements, co-contribution rules, Super Refunds, super taxes, retirement and making extra contributions, the information is not easy to understand for a ‘beginner’. So, they would naturally find it a complex and mind-boggling task to utilize the fund in a way which would bring them the best benefits later in life.

So, here we give the preliminary steps which a beginner has to follow, which would help their future: Continue reading “Ensure that Your Super Benefits Work the Best for You”

Australian Superannuation Guide For Same Sex Couples

Super rights for same-sex couples

Superannuation rights for same-sex couples in Australia were endorsed by the majority of citizens and in parliament. Although such relationships were not equal under the laws of marriage until December 2017/January 2018, they were considered legitimate and equal, for superannuation entitlements. This also happened quite recently though. Many of the homophobic inequities in superannuation and retirement policy are now eradicated.

Superannuation Guide For Same Sex Couples in Australia

The laws apply equally to single, married, de facto, gay, lesbian or heterosexual people. However, special rules apply under these circumstances:

  • Making super contributions

Most rules regarding super contributions apply for all. There are two different instances:

  • Contribution splitting
  • Spouse contributions

In Death

A same-sex partner is considered as ‘spouse’ under super laws, meaning any superannuation benefits paid out to a partner after the other’s death will be tax-free as a lump sum. The death benefit is likely to be tax-free as a superannuation pension (if aged above 60, or surviving partner is over 60).

Setting Up and Running a Self-managed Super Fund (SMSF)

  • The eligibility rules for SMSF members are more straightforward for a same-sex couple wanting to run an SMSF together.
  • SMSF trustees cannot lend money to a member or a relative of a member. A same-sex partner is now considered a ‘relative’.

Relationship Breakdown (separating)

The federal laws relating to the recognition of superannuation assets within a same-sex relationship have changed, and benefit splitting is now permitted (not in Western Australia) although it’s very complicated.

Nearly all employees are entitled to superannuation. If you earn above $450 monthly, your employer should pay 9.5% of your earnings to a super fund (known as a super contribution). Compulsory contributions (Superannuation Guarantee) should be paid at least quarterly.

You can make your own super contributions – before-tax contributions (salary sacrifice or tax-deductible contributions), or after-tax contributions (non-concessional contributions) which may be deducted from your take-home pay, or sourced from private savings.

Australian employees entitled to superannuation, or self-employed people making their own super contributions can receive tax incentives on superannuation at these stages:

  • Before-tax contributions (concessional contributions)
  • Co-contribution
  • Investment earnings
  • Tax-free retirement benefits

For superannuation, a ‘spouse’ now means:

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Australian Super Fund Salary – What You Are Entitled To

How much superannuation are you entitled to earn?

How much superannuation are you entitled to earn? Many shift workers are concerned about the components of their ‘Super fund salary’ from their employers; whether it should include both base and shift loading salaries. In most cases, employers pay super fund salary for both base and shift loading salaries, but only the base component is used to calculate life insurance and income protection.

How much superannuation are you entitled to earn?

Australian Superannuation Guarantee

Superannuation Guarantee (SG) laws require employers to pay to a super fund, the equivalent of 9.5 per cent of what an employee receives from ordinary time earnings (OTE), which is what an employee earns for their normal hours of work, including over-award payments, shift or casual loading if any, commissions, allowances and performance bonuses. (An ‘employee’s ordinary hours of work’ are his/her ordinary hours of work under the award or agreement, or the combination of documents, which govern that person’s conditions of employment.)

Australian Super Fund Salary

An average salary is used in some public sector funds for this calculation, which means the ‘super fund salary’ in such institutions could be different from an individual’s actual salary. Generally, super funds include total income (including salary sacrificed contributions and even regular overtime) as ‘salary’.

Those employees whose base salary only is included in the super fund are advised to check with their employers whether the relevant paperwork sent to the super fund hasn’t been updated. As a next step, they can check with their super fund about the definition of ‘salary’ for the particular fund’s income protection insurance, and life insurance, and whether it includes shift loading, which should correctly be included in the super fund.

The majority of super funds allow individuals to opt for additional income protection cover or life insurance cover, with the inclusion of additional information, and normally after undergoing a medical exam.

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Australian Super Money Saving Guides: Darwin’s Best Cheap Eats

Darwin's Best Cheap Eats

Darwin may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about Australia’s culinary delights, but it should! It has some quirky, but wonderful eateries which will literally make your taste buds go wild with gastronomic pleasure.

With a great mix of high-end restaurants as well as hip cafes offering street style food inspired by everything from European to Asian to Australian cuisine, you’re truly spoilt for choice at Darwins best restaurants Whether you want a simple cappuccino, breakfast, lunch or dinner, Darwin’s eateries have you well and truly covered. In this article, we present eight of Darwin’s best cheap eats.

Darwin’s Best Cheap Eats

Sari Rasa

6/24 Cavenagh Street, Darwin City 

Though not easy to spot, it’s a place which just shouldn’t be missed. This café, which offers mouthwatering authentic Indonesian delicacies, ticks all the right boxes when it comes to hearty Asian fare and the large number of patrons at lunchtime is evidence of this.  The chilli beans in coconut sauce, grilled eggplant and white fish curry (AUD$13) coupled with a chilled, homemade ginger drink (AUD$5) is a combo worth trying. The café is open until early afternoons only on weekdays and doesn’t accept credit cards. 

Eat at Martin’s

6 Caryota Court, Coconut Grove 

If healthy and wholesome is what you are after, this vegetarian joint is the place for you. At Eat at Martin’s, all food is sourced and prepared according to traditional Ayurvedic principles, a concept borne in India to promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Its most popular offerings are chocolate and chickpea cake (AUD$5.90) and black organic quinoa in coconut milk, served for breakfast with pears, ginger, spices, yoghurt, coconut cream and walnuts (AUD$14.90).

Crazy Acres Darwin

Crazy Acres

70 Reedbeds Road, Berry Springs 

This family-run farm shop is a favourite of visitors to Litchfield National Park or Berry Springs Nature Reserve. Highlights include tropical fruit-inspired homemade ice creams (AUD$5), picnic platter with smoked barramundi, honey roast ham, salad and roast beef (AUD$19.50) and mango cheesecake (AUD$7). It’s open from May to September, which is Darwin’s dry season.  

Laksa House

54 Stuart Highway, Stuart Park 

The café is run by East Timorese and is known for its South-East Asian fare. A favourite among locals, the eatery has earned a name for its fresh and delectable laksas and soups (AUD$16-$17.50) and charcoal chicken with sweet and spicy Timorese sauce (AUD$22.50). Closing time for dinner is rather early at 8.00 pm. 

Chow

Shops D1 & D2, 19 Kitchener Drive, Darwin City 

This fun restaurant has a bright, colourful, modern and youthful vibe. Vietnamese cuisine is the main inspiration for Chow which also serves Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian fare. Favourites include spring rolls (AUD$15), fresh coconut water (AUD$9), scrumptious laksa (AUD$15-$19), pad thai (AUD$19) and Vietnamese chicken curry (AUD$22). 

Jetty & the Fish

260 Casuarina Drive, Nightcliff 

The red food truck is open for business from Thursday to Sunday evenings on Nightcliff Foreshore in the north. The stars in their menu include hot chips (AUD$3.50) and South Mexico-inspired fish tacos, served with spicy white sauce, cabbage and coriander (AUD$5). 

Alley Cats Patisserie

14/69 Mitchell Street, Darwin City 

The most delicious breads and pastries, organic sourdoughs, croissants, Danishes and traditional sweets in Darwin can be found at this bakery cafe. Its heavenly creations include the cronut (AUD$7), a twist on the classic custard doughnut, and cruffin, a cross between croissant and muffin (AUD$7). Its sister café, The Rabbit Hole, has a stall at Nightcliff Markets on Sunday.

 Manoli’s Taverna

64 Smith Street, Darwin City 

The charming restaurant reminds you of its Greek heritage at every turn and takes the customers’ focus to its delicacies which include fried saganaki cheese (AUD$17), pureed potato and garlic dip (AUD$7), chargrilled octopus (AUD$25), spanakopita dishes (AUD$14) and the Greek vanilla slice galaktoboureko (AUD$9.50). 

Super Money Saving Guides: How to Pick the Best Travel Credit Card

How to Pick the Best Travel Credit Card

Travel credit cards are not about spending money you don’t have. Instead, they allow you to enjoy a lot of perks during your travels. You could earn free points which can later be redeemed for air tickets, accommodation charges or sometimes even cash.  Here is a brief guide to picking the best travel credit card.

How to Pick the Best Travel Credit Card

There are number of ways your travel credit card can help you save money whilst you travel the world. Continue reading “Super Money Saving Guides: How to Pick the Best Travel Credit Card”

Bloggers Guide To Saving Money On Working Holiday

working holiday money guides

In this article we sourced 6 of the best money saving blogs for working holiday makers planning trips to Australia and beyond in 2019 and top tips for people saving money for future travels.

Here at backpay.com we care about how much money you can save and make. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping passionate travellers and career expats contribute to their travel funds and journeys around the world with their superannuation refunds. Continue reading “Bloggers Guide To Saving Money On Working Holiday”

Super Travel Guides: Australian Working Holiday Visa Tips

Backpacker on working holiday

Australian Working Holiday Visa Tips – The Need To Know Guide – updated April 2019

Australian Working Holiday Visa Tips for backpacker and adventure travellers. Remember, it’s your working holiday, challenge yourself and look for new experiences, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to discover new things. And remember, it’s a working holiday so enjoy your work and remember to have some holiday. Here’s our handy guide for your adventure. 

Claim your Australian Superannuation Refund 

Continue reading “Super Travel Guides: Australian Working Holiday Visa Tips”

Understand Australian superannuation: Consider it as overtime

Understand Australian superannuation

Superannuation would be easier to understand if you look at it the same way you look at your overtime payments. Here is how.

Understand Australian superannuation

For some people, especially those who are new to Australia, it’s difficult to understand the intricacies behind the Superannuation Guarantee. No doubt it’s a complex and mind-boggling subject. However, it can be understood with a bit of simplifying and research. Continue reading “Understand Australian superannuation: Consider it as overtime”