Government super contributions
Bonus super contributions from the
If you are a low income earner, you may be eligible for bonus
super contributions from the government. Here we explain the extra
contributions you could be entitled to and how they are paid into
Bonus super contributions for
low income earners
If you are on a low income it can be harder to save for
retirement. To make it easier, the government has two types of
bonus super contributions to help you grow your super.
The low income super tax offset helps those earning less than
$37,000 a year. You don't have to make extra any super
contributions yourself to get this.
The government co-contribution helps people that earn less
than $52,697 a year and make extra super contributions.
Low income super tax offset (LISTO)
The low income super tax offset compensates you for the tax you
pay on concessional (before tax) contributions. Concessional contributions include your
employer contributions, salary sacrificed super
contributions and personal contributions you've claimed a tax
If you earn $37,000 a year or less, and are eligible, the
government will make an extra contribution to your super, equal to
15% of your concessional contributions, up to $500 annually. This
means that most low income earners will not pay any tax on super
You don't need to do anything, the ATO will work out your
eligibility and pay your low income super tax offset directly into
your super account. Make sure your super fund has your tax file number so you don't miss out on
For more information, see the ATO's information on the low income super tax offset.
Case study: Ewan gets a low income super tax offset from the
Ewan, 26, earns $36,000 a year from his job as a personal
trainer. Over the last financial year Ewan's employer put $3,420
into his super account.
Because Ewan provided his tax file number to his super fund the
ATO works out he is eligible for a low income super tax offset from
the government. After Ewan lodges his tax return the government
adds $500 to his super account.
The government co-contribution scheme rewards you for making
personal non-concessional (after tax) contributions. If you earn
less than $52,697 per year (before tax) and make non-concessional super contributions, you may be eligible for a matching
contribution from the government, known as a government
If you earn less than $37,697 the maximum co-contribution is
$500 based on 50c from the government for every $1 you contribute.
It doesn't matter whether you make small regular contributions or
irregular lump sums, the co-contribution is based on the total
amount of non-concessional contributions you make over a financial
The amount of co-contribution you are eligible for reduces the
more you earn, however, you can earn up to $52,697 and still
be eligible for something.
How do I get the government co-contribution?
To receive the co-contribution you will need to lodge a tax
return for the year.
The government will then work out how much you are entitled to.
If you're eligible, the government will pay the co-contribution
directly to your fund. See the ATO for more details on super co-contributions.
Case study: Jay gets a co-contribution from the government
Jay, 26, earns $28,000 a
year from his part-time job. He decides to grow his super by
contributing an extra $40 per fortnight into his super fund.
This small regular step will grow Jay's super significantly over
time. By making personal contributions he qualifies for a super
co-contribution from the government.
By the time Jay retires at 65, these additional amounts will
have boosted his super by an estimated $90,000.
How to optimise your super
To help you work out the best way for you to grow your nest egg,
we've developed a super contributions optimiser. It helps you
decide whether it's better for you to make before or after tax
contributions, or a combination of both.
Find out the best way to add to your super.
Unpaid super? How to check
your employer super contributions
Make sure you're getting the super you're entitled to. Your
employer must transfer super to your super fund at least once a
quarter, although they can choose to transfer super more often.
Check you are receiving the correct amount of super by logging into
your online super account, contacting your super fund or logging
into your myGov account.
If you think you're not getting paid the correct amount of super
talk to your employer. Ask how often they're paying your super,
which fund they're paying it to and how much they're paying.
If your employer is not paying your super at all or not paying
you enough super you should report it to the ATO.
If you're a low income earner it can be harder
to grow your super. The low income super tax offset and the
government co-contribution help to boost your super balance so
you'll have more money to live on in retirement.
Last updated: 24 Oct 2018