By Peter Kelly on 14 April 2021
I often receive enquiries from financial advisers asking where they can access reliable information in relation to their client’s superannuation dealings.
As a starting point, it is unlikely that anyone can access information about another person’s financial arrangements without having, at the very least, that person’s authority to access their information.
As the complexity around superannuation has evolved over recent years, having access to reliable and up to date information is becoming increasingly important.
On the superannuation front, many Australians are now dealing with multiple issues including their ability to make contributions to super, caps on the amount they can contribute to super, limits on the amount that can be applied to commence a retirement income stream such as an account-based pension, and the like.
With the introduction of total superannuation balance, concessional and non-concessional contribution caps, bring forward and carried forward caps, and transfer balance caps, where does one get authoritative information?
Enter the Federal Government, or more particularly myGov.
myGov is an online service that is becoming a mainstream portal for people wishing to manage their dealings with a number government agencies including Centrelink, Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Medicare, Child Support, Department of Veterans Affairs, My Aged Care, My Health Record, among others.
The ATO, Medicare and Centrelink appear to be popular services accessed through myGov. In fact, it may become increasingly difficult for people to access services other than via myGov.
Looking more closely at the ATO section of myGov, not only can a person manage their tax affairs through their myGov account they can also get access to important information relating to their superannuation. Some of the super information includes:
1. Fund Details
Details of each superannuation fund interest a person has, including the recent balance of each account.
2. Total Superannuation Balance (TSB)
A person’s TSB is the total value of all money they have in superannuation calculated as at the end of the previous financial year.
The TSB is used to determine if a person can make non-concessional contributions, receive a spouse contribution, and receive the government co-contribution for low-income earners.
3. Bring forward arrangements
Many Australians can maximise their “after tax” contributions to super by bringing forward up to three years of non-concessional contributions. This tab within the portal enables people to see if they have previously triggered their three-year bring forward cap and how much remaining cap is available. Contributing too much to super can have adverse tax consequences.
4. Concessional contributions
The amount a person can contribute as a concessional contribution is currently $25,000 per annum, increasing to $27,500 from 1 July 2021. Concessional contributions include employer contribution and personal contributions that are subject to a personal tax deduction. Monitoring the level of concessional contributions is important to avoid exceeding the cap.
5. Carry forward concessional contributions
Those who had a TSB of less than $500,000 can carry forward the unused portion of their concessional contribution cap that has accrued since 1 July 2018. This can be carried forward for up to five years. This tab allows people to check on any unused concessional contribution cap that may be available to use.
6. Transfer balance cap
The transfer balance cap is the maximum that a person may transfer to the pension phase of super. Monitoring the available transfer balance cap is vitally important to ensure the cap is not inadvertently breached, with resultant tax consequences.
7. Employer contributions
Monitoring employer contributions is vital to ensure that employers are meeting their superannuation obligations in a timely fashion. With employers now required to submit superannuation information via SuperStream in most cases, details of employer contributions appearing on myGov should be up to date.
Accessing superannuation information from a myGov account can be a quick and simple way to access reliable information.
However, the system is not perfect and is only as good as the timeliness and quality of information entered.
While most superannuation funds are required to report information to the ATO on a regular and ongoing basis, self-managed super funds may not be required to comply with the same reporting timeframes. As a result, the superannuation information in respect of a self-managed super fund may not be as up to date. This should not be problematic provided a financial adviser has access to any additional information and can “fill in any gaps”.
To apply for a myGov account, simply go to https://my.gov.au.