From 1 July 2017, eligible individuals can make voluntary contributions to their superannuation account under a First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme. The Scheme enables individuals to save for their first home and take advantage of the concessional taxation arrangements that apply in the superannuation system. An FHSS tax is payable if the individuals do not either purchase their first home within a specified period or recontribute an amount into superannuation.
An individual is eligible to participate in the FHSS scheme if he/she is 18 years of age (or older), never used the FHSS scheme previously, and has never owned real estate (except in rare cases).
The key features of the FHSS Scheme are:
- The maximum voluntary contributions under the scheme is $15,000 a year, and $30,000 in total. Voluntary contributions can be non-concessional or concessional contributions and are subject to the contributions caps.
- An individual may apply to the ATO to withdraw up to their “FHSS maximum release amount” , which is the sum of eligible contributions (100% of non-concessional contributions and 85% of concessional contributions) and associated earnings, to use as a deposit on a home. To initiate the withdrawal, the individual must request a “first home super saver determination” (FHSS determination) from the Commissioner, who will then issue a release authority
- The individual’s superannuation fund must pay the amount to be released to the Commissioner, who will withhold an amount for any tax payable and pay the balance to the individual. The amount withheld will reflect the best estimate of the tax payable or, if such an estimate cannot be made, 17% of the amount released (FHSS released amount).
- Concessional contributions and earnings that are withdrawn are included in the individual’s assessable income and receive a non-refundable 30% tax offset. For released amounts of non-concessional contributions, only the associated earnings are taxed, also with a 30% tax offset.
- An individual can enter into a contract to purchase or construct their home provided he/she has applied for and received an FHSS determination, and have applied for a valid request for release under that determination within 14 days of entering into the contract.
- An individual will generally have 12 months after money is released from superannuation to sign a contract to purchase a home or construct a home. The premises must be occupied as soon as practicable and for at least six months of the first year after it is practicable to do so.
- If a home is not purchased, the individual is required to re-contribute an amount into superannuation or pay 20% FHSS tax on the FHSS released amount to unwind the concessional tax treatment when it was released.