Spouse contributions

Spouse contributions help increase your spouse's super if they’re working part-time or taking care of things at home.

Why would you contribute to your spouse’s super?

If you contribute to your spouse's super and your spouse earns less than $40,000 in the 2018-19 financial year, you may be eligible for an 18% tax offset on contributions of up to $3,000 each year up to a maximum of $540.

Spouse contributions can be an effective way to increase your spouse's super. Along with other strategies, such as government co-contributions and salary sacrificing, it can form part of a complete retirement strategy.

Who counts as a spouse for this tax offset?

Your spouse includes another person (of any sex) who:

  • you were in a relationship with that was registered under a prescribed state or territory law
  • although not legally married to you, lived with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

How much is the tax offset?

Spouse contributions may provide you with an 18% tax offset when you contribute to your spouse's super fund, under certain conditions. This encourages couples to make sure both their super savings are growing. The tax offset applies to the first $3,000 of your contributions in a year, with a maximum tax offset of $540. 

To say it another way, the tax offset is 18% of one of these things (whichever is less):

  • the spouse contribution
  • $3,000 reduced by $1 for every dollar of income earned over $37,000, up to a maximum income limit of $40,000.

(Yeah, we had to read through that a couple of times, too. If your brain’s buzzing like ours did, just give us a call on 1800 005 166 and we’ll run you through it.)

Example: Lee and Taylor's story

Lee and Taylor are a de facto couple.

Lee works part-time and earns $37,500 a year.

Taylor is the main income earner. Taylor contributes $3,000 to Lee's fund. To calculate the tax offset, Taylor needs to:

1. subtract $37,000 from Lee's income: $500

 Save for your spouse graphic 1


2. deduct this amount from the $3,000 contribution: $2,500

Save for your spouse graphic 2

3. use the lesser amount of step two or the contribution: $2,500. Multiply this by 18%: $450.

Save for your spouse graphic 3

The tax offset Taylor can claim is $450.

Are you eligible for the tax offset?

You’re eligible if:

  • your spouse's assessable income, total reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions is under $40,000 in the financial year the spouse contribution is made
  •  both you and your spouse are Australian residents for tax purposes
  • you haven’t used the contribution to claim a tax deduction or government co-contribution
  • your spouse is 70 or younger or, where your spouse is between age 65 and 69, they worked at least 40 hours within 30 consecutive days
  • your spouse hasn’t exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap for the relevant financial year or their total super account balance isn’t $1.6 million or more immediately before the start of the financial year in which the spouse contribution is made.

Caps and tax

Spouse contributions count as non-concessional contributions, which means they come under your spouse's non-concessional contributions cap.

Grab more information on contribution caps.

Spouse contributions aren’t subject to the contributions tax.

How you get the tax offset

To claim the tax offset, you just need to make an after-tax contribution to your spouse's super and claim the tax offset in your tax return.

Next steps

Heading for a retirement you can live with and live on? Find out with our Retirement $ projector. You can also find our more about spouse contributions in our Save for your spouse and reduce your tax fact sheet.