The pros and cons of contributing proceeds from the sale of your home to super

From 1 July 2018, if you are over 65, have held your home for 10 years or more and are looking to sell, you might be able to contribute some of the proceeds of the sale of your home to superannuation.

propertyThe benefit of this measure is that you can contribute a lump sum of up to $300,000 per person to superannuation without being restricted by the existing work test requirements, non-concessional contribution caps or total superannuation balance rules. 

It's a way of building your superannuation quickly and taking advantage of superannuation's concessional tax rates. The $1.6 million transfer balance cap will continue to apply so your pension interests cannot exceed this amount. And, the Age Pension means test will continue to apply. If you are considering using this initiative, it will be important to get advice to ensure that you are eligible to use this measure and the contribution does not adversely affect your overall financial position.

The downsizer initiative applies to the sale of any dwelling in Australia – other than a caravan, houseboat or mobile home – that you or your spouse have held continuously for at least 10 years. Over those 10 years, the dwelling had to have been your main residence for at least part of the time. As long as you qualify for at least a partial main residence exemption under the CGT rules (or you would qualify for the exemption if a capital gain arose) you may be able to access the downsizer concession. This means that you do not actually need to have lived in the property for the full 10-year period. 

The rules also take into account changes of ownership between two spouses over the 10-year period prior to the sale. This could assist in situations where a spouse who owned the property has died and their interest is inherited by their surviving spouse. The surviving spouse can count the ownership period of their deceased spouse in determining whether the 10-year ownership period test is satisfied. This rule could also assist in situations where assets have been transferred as a result of marriage or de facto relationship breakdown.

In general, the maximum downsizer contribution is $300,000 per contributor (so, $600,000 for a couple). The contribution needs to be made within 90 days after your home changes ownership (generally, the date of settlement) but you can apply to the Tax Commissioner to extend this period. And, the initiative only applies once – you cannot use it again for future properties.

If you have self-managed super, check with us about ATO reporting requirements and the trust deed rules around the acceptance of contributions for members over the age of 65.

The eligibility requirements include:

  1. The contribution from the sale is made to a complying superannuation fund
  2. The contribution is equal to or less than the capital proceeds from the disposal of a main residence
  3. The member or their spouse had an eligible interest in the main residence before the sale
  4. The member, their spouse, their former spouse, or trustee of the deceased estate held an interest in the house during the prior 10 years
  5. No prior downsizer contribution has been made

From 1 July 2018, new laws come into effect allowing first home buyers to use their super to help buy a home and, at the other end of the spectrum, downsizers to contribute proceeds from the sale of their home to super without many of the normal restrictions. Call Collins Hume on 02 6686 3000 to see if you can benefit.

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General Advice Warning: This communication has been prepared on a general advice basis only. The information has not been prepared to take into account your specific objectives, needs and financial situation. The information may not be appropriate to your individual needs and you should seek advice from your financial adviser before making any investment decisions. Collins Hume is a Corporate Authorised Representative No. 1243440 of GPS Wealth Ltd AFSL 254544.