How will downsizer (selling your home after age 65) super contributions work?

With downsizer super contributions coming into effect on 1 July 2018, what are some of the tips and traps?

To reduce pressure on housing affordability, downsizer contributions provide an incentive for super fund members aged 65 years or older to sell a main residence. The Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure On Housing Affordability Measures No. 1) Act 2017 (Cth) which introduces downsizer contributions received royal assent on 13 December 2017.
Downsizer contributions comes into effect on 1 July 2018 and members intending to make downsizer contributions can enter into a contract of sale from this date. In preparation of this we should consider two key questions:

  • How do downsizer contributions work?
  • What are some tips and traps for SMSFs in utilising downsizer contributions?

How do downsizer contributions work?
There are four broad steps that need to be taken if a member would like to be eligible to make downsizer contributions.
Step 1: Eligibility
The first step the member needs to take is to confirm that their contributions will be eligible downsizer contributions. Broadly, an eligible downsizer contribution is where:

  1. the contribution is made to a complying super fund by a member aged 65 years or older;
  2. the amount is equal to all or part of the capital proceeds received from the disposal of an ownership interest in a dwelling that qualifies as a main residence in Australia, under the downsizer provisions;
  3. the member or the member’s spouse had an interest in the main residence before the disposal;
  4. the interest in the main residence was held by:
    • the member;
    • the member’s spouse;
    • the member’s former spouse;
    • a trustee of the estate of the member’s deceased spouse;during the 10 years prior to the disposal; and
  5. The member has not previously made downsizer contributions in relation to an earlier disposal of a main residence.

Note that a caravan, houseboat or other mobile home does not qualify as a main residence for these purposes.
The member should determine whether they are eligible to make downsizer contributions and whether their main residence satisfies the above criteria prior to the disposal of the main residence.
Step 2: Contributions
Upon the sale of a main residence a member can make up to a maximum of $300,000 in contributions to their super fund. Further, there is no age limit or gainful employment test that needs to be satisfied (however many SMSF deeds will preclude such contributions and an SMSF deed update is likely to be required). These contributions are not counted towards the relevant member’s contributions caps or total superannuation balance in the financial year a downsizer contribution is made.
Once the member sells their main residence, they are required to make downsizer contributions to their super fund within 90 days after the day the ownership changed (typically 90 days from settlement). An approved form should be completed and given to the trustee of the super fund detailing the amount that is to be attributed to downsizer contributions. While multiple downsizer contributions in respect of the sale of the same residence can be made, the total amount of downsizer contributions made by each member cannot exceed $300,000. This total amount includes the amount of all downsizer contributions a member makes in respect of all of their superannuation funds.
It is important to note that the $300,000 downsizer contribution cap is for only one member, therefore this would potentially allow for additional contributions of $600,000 for a couple (ie, 2 x $300,000).
Given this 90 day timeframe, a member cannot make downsizer contributions if settlement is, for instance, on vendor terms that go beyond 90 days unless they have been granted an extension from the ATO.
Step 3: Reporting and Verification
Upon the super fund’s receipt of the downsizer contribution form the super fund must inform the ATO during the super fund’s annual reporting. The ATO will then run verification checks on the amount and may contact the member for further information.
If the ATO has verified that the member has made eligible downsizer contributions, no further action is taken.
However, if the contribution does not qualify as a downsizer contribution the ATO notifies the superannuation provider. The amount will then either be allocated as a non-concessional contribution — if permitted by superannuation law and may result in the member exceeding their cap — or refunded to the member.

What are some tips and traps for SMSFs and their members?

SMSF Deed Provisions
As the downsizer contribution is a new type of contribution, the SMSF’s deed should have express wording that allows members to make these contributions to the fund, especially as a member over 65 years may not be gainfully employed and in many cases a member may be in excess of 75 years (and to date contributions cannot generally be made for such members under reg 7.04 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (Cth)). Additionally the SMSF deed should provide appropriate mechanisms in resolving what happens when a downsizer contribution is deemed ineligible by the ATO. As a matter of reporting, the SMSF will need to receive approved downsizer contribution forms from the SMSF and report those contributions to the ATO.
Age Pension
Additionally, members should note that disposing of their main residence and contributing downsizer contributions to their super fund may adversely impact on their Centrelink entitlements. Broadly, the age pension provided by Centrelink is assessed against, among other things, an assets test. A person’s family home is generally not included in the assets test, however superannuation savings are included once a member reaches pension age. This means that if a member disposes of their main residence and make a downsizer contribution, the member may either be:

  • subject to reduced age pension payments; or
  • no longer eligible to receive any age pension payments altogether.

Further adverse impact on other government entitlements may also follow as a result of the greater level of superannuation assets. This aspect will significantly reduce the attractiveness of the downsizer provisions for many who would otherwise be interested in the scheme.
Proceeds and Borrowings
It is important to note that the downsizer contributions cap is the lesser of $300,000 or the sum of the capital proceeds. Any debt outstanding on a mortgage over the relevant property is not considered for the purpose of determining the capital proceeds.
For example, John bought his main residence 12 years ago for $1 million. He then sells for $1.25 million when his outstanding borrowings are $1 million.
John received capital proceeds of $1.25 million. Thus, John can make downsizer contributions up to $300,000.
Members should also be aware that downsizer contributions are not deductible.
By Christian Pakpahan, lawyer and Daniel Butler, director, DBA Lawyers
12 JANUARY 2018
www.smsfadviser.com

More Articles

TRANSITIONING INTO RETIREMENT: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Deciding on your retirement funding options comes down to personal choice. . If you’re close to...

Read full article

The Deadliest pandemics in History

Check out the Deadliest pandemics in...

Read full article

Middle-to-higher incomes boosting SMSF growth

The SMSF sector experienced healthy growth over the March quarter, with men and women on middle-to-higher...

Read full article

The superannuation changes from 1 July

The super changes on the way from the start of the 2024-25 financial year. . A number of...

Read full article

Investment and economic outlook, May 2024

Region-by-region economic outlook and latest forecasts for investment returns. . For the last...

Read full article

Downsizer contributions can be time critical

With the expansion of the downsizer contribution, the timing of when it is used can affect how to use...

Read full article

Deeming freeze a win for Age Pensioners

Why the decision to keep deeming rates on hold may be a window for interest rates.   . In...

Read full article

Plan now to take advantage of stage 3 tax cuts

With the stage three tax cuts set to be implemented in around six weeks, opportunities for tax-saving...

Read full article

Sofie Korac is an Authorised Representative (No. 400164) of Prudentia Financial Planning Pty Ltd, AFSL 544118 and a member of the Association of Financial Advisers.

Financial Advice Sydney and the North Shore Office based in Gordon NSW

Financial Services Guide - Disclaimer & Privacy Policy

^