The Australian Government introduced measures in the Federal Budget 2017-18 to reduce pressure on housing affordability. First home buyers will now be able to save for their first home inside their superannuation fund and older Australians will be able to contribute the proceeds from the sale of their family home into superannuation.
From 1 July 2018, first home buyers will be able to withdraw voluntary superannuation contributions they've made since 1 July 2017 (along with a deemed rate of earnings minus applicable taxes and fees) to help buy their first home. These voluntary contributions can be either concessional (before tax) or a non-concessional (after tax) contributions and are also subject to the contribution limits that are already legislated.
The scheme allows first time home buyers to make voluntary contributions up to $15,000 per annum to their superannuation to be used to save for a home deposit. The maximum amount that can be accessed is $30,000 per person ($60,000 a couple).
You may be eligible for the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme if you can answer yes to all of the following:
- you have never owned any property in Australia;
- you are not using FHSS to purchase any premises that is not capable of being occupied as a residence, a houseboat, a motor home or vacant land;
- you live or intend to live in the premises you are buying as soon as practicable;
- you intend to live in the property for the at least the first six months out of the first 12 months you own it, after it is practical to move in; and
- you have not previously received FHSS amounts.
If you have previously owned property in Australia, you may still be eligible for the FHSS if the Commissioner of Taxation determines that you have suffered a financial hardship.
To apply for a release of funds under the FHSS, you will need to apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) after 1 July 2018. Applications must be made on the approved form which will be available on their website after this date.
The FHSSS may help first home buyers save faster due to the concessional tax treatment within super. You can use the Government’s First Home Super Saver Scheme Estimator to view any potential benefits the scheme may have for you. More information regarding the FHSSS is available from the Australian Tax Office.
From 1 July 2018, a new measure allows older Australians to contribute the proceeds of the sale of their family home to super. Australians aged 65 and over will be able to contribute up to $300,000 per person (up to $600,000 for a couple), over and above the existing contribution limits.
It’s important to be aware that the measure applies to the sale of your main residence, owned by you or your spouse for at least 10 years prior, and where the exchange of contracts for the sale occurs on or after 1 July 2018. The government is hoping this measure encourages older Australians, where appropriate, to free up homes that no longer meet their needs.
More information regarding the downsizing measure is available from the Australian Tax Office.
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