Super strategies – Top up your super with ‘catch-up’ contributions

If you have not fully used your concessional cap in a prior financial year, you may be eligible to use these unused carried forward amounts in a later year. This could help you to maximise tax-effective super contributions and invest more for retirement when circumstances allow.


How does the strategy work?

What’s the benefit?

Since 1 July 2018, if your concessional
contributions (CCs) in a financial year are
below the annual CC cap, you’re able to
accrue these unused amounts and carry
them forward for up to five years. If you meet
certain eligibility rules, you’ll be able to make
larger CCs in a later financial year.
This may give you greater flexibility to make
larger CCs when your circumstances allow.
This may be helpful if, for example, you have
irregular employment income or have had
time out of the workforce.
The amount you contribute will generally be
taxed at the concessional rate of up to 15%1.
Once contributed, any earnings will also be
taxed at a concessional rate, rather than your
marginal rate, which could be up to 47%2.
Depending on your circumstances, this
strategy could result in a tax saving of up to
32% and enable you to increase your super.


Case study

In 2018/19, Fatima made total CCs of $15,000, which was $10,000 less than the annual CC
cap of $25,000.

Fatima took 12 months maternity leave from 1 July 2019 and didn’t make any CCs in 2019/20.

From 1 July 2020, Fatima returned to fulltime work where her employer contributions
(CCs) will again total $15,000. This is $10,000 less than the annual cap that applies in this
financial year ($25,000).

Fatima receives an inheritance in 2020/21 that she wants to contribute to super.

The table shows how she can carry forward unused CCs to make catch up
contributions in a later year.


Other key considerations

  • It’s important to check your total CCs for the financial year from all sources before adjusting your contribution strategy.
    CCs include:
    – contributions made for you by your employer
    – salary sacrifice contributions, and
    – personal contributions that you claim
    a tax deduction for.
  • Salary sacrificing may reduce other benefits such as leave loading and holiday pay.
  • For personal deductible contributions, you need to lodge a ‘Notice of Intent’ form and receive an acknowledgement from the super fund before certain timeframes, and also before starting a pension, withdrawal or rollover.
  • If you are not eligible to make catch-up CCs, tax penalties apply if you exceed the annual CC cap of $25,000.
  • You can’t access super until you meet certain conditions.


Seek advice

To work out what your available carried forward CC balance is and how much you’re eligible to contribute, you may wish to speak to your Pinnacle adviser. Additional tax and other penalties may apply if you make contributions that exceed your available cap.

To work out your carried forward amounts, you need to confirm the total amount of CCs you have made in each financial year since 1 July 2018. You can access information about your contributions by logging on to Information displayed might not be up to date, so it is also important to keep accurate contributions records and enquire directly to your super fund before contributing.

1 Individuals with income from certain sources above $250,000 in 2020/21 will pay an additional 15% tax on salary sacrifice, personal deductible and other CCs within the cap.
2 Includes Medicare levy.
3 Your ‘total superannuation balance’ includes all of your super accumulation interests and amounts held in superannuation income stream products. For more information, visit, and check your total super balance by logging into