Register For Our Mailing List

Register to receive our free weekly newsletter including editorials.

Home / 548

Clock is ticking on a super free kick

The early part of each year is often a good time to review your investing strategy for the calendar year ahead and beyond.

And, with less than six months to go before 30 June, it’s also a good time to consider shorter-term opportunities. Sometimes it can be a case of use them or lose them.

Take this financial year, for example. For some Australians, there’s a concessionally taxed superannuation investment opportunity specifically hinged to the 2018-19 financial year that will expire on 30 June this year. By 1 July it will be gone.

The catch-up opportunity

Working Australians are allowed to contribute a maximum of $27,500 into their super each financial year at a concessionally taxed rate of 15%.

It’s a capped amount that includes the mandated super payments made by your employer plus any additional personal super contributions you choose to make to your super fund. However, in any given financial year, many people are unable to take advantage of the full $27,500 concessionally taxed contributions limit.

Back in 2016-17 the then federal government announced that from the start of the 2018-19 financial year it would allow eligible Australians to carry forward any unused annual concessional contribution amounts they have for up to five financial years.

Source: ATO

As such, the deadline for taking advantage of any unused concessionally taxed entitlements from the 2018-19 financial year is the end of 2023-24.

In many respects it’s a super free kick that’s there for the taking, at least for those Australians who are legally and financially able to do so.

Eligibility requirements

There are eligibility requirements for being able to take advantage of carry forward contributions from previous financial years.

To be eligible, you must:

  • have a total super balance of less than $500,000 at 30 June of the previous financial year.
  • have unused concessional contributions cap amounts available.

The good news is that if you are eligible, there’s nothing you really need to do. If you have the ability to make extra super contributions this financial year above the concessionally taxed $27,500 annual limit, any carry forward concessional cap amounts from previous financial years will be automatically applied by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

If you haven’t used them already, the ATO will first apply any amounts from the 2018-19 financial year. It will then progressively apply any unused amounts from subsequent financial years.

A carry forward example

Let’s say you are still under the $500,000 total super balance and have some accumulated savings you’re willing to put into your super fund. Maybe you’ve recently sold an asset and now have some extra cash in the bank.

In the 2018-19 financial year you made $15,000 in concessional super contributions. Because the annual concessional contributions limit back then was $25,000, you would therefore have a $10,000 unused amount from that financial year. The annual concessional contributions limit wasn’t lifted to $27,500 until the start of 2021-22.

In each subsequent financial year you made $20,000 in concessional contributions, so you also have $10,000 from both 2019-20 and 2020-21, and $7,500 from both 2021-22 and 2022-23.

That gives you a grand total of $45,000 in unused concessionally taxed contributions spanning five financial years plus this financial year’s $27,500 limit.

If you were to exceed this financial year’s $27,500 by between $1 and $10,000, the extra contributions would be deducted from your 2018-19 carry forward amount. Any amounts over $10,000 would be deducted from 2019-20, and so on.

How do I find out if I have unused amounts?

You can easily check if you have unused concessional contribution amounts online via your myGov account by linking to the ATO.

After logging in, select Super - Information - Carry forward concessional contributions, and your unused balances by financial year should be viewable.

The caveats are that you must not have made concessional contributions in the financial year that exceeded your general concessional contributions cap and, as noted, your total super balance must be below $500,000 as at 30 June of the previous financial year.

Even though we’re now only around midway through the current financial year, it’s worth considering whether you can use this super free kick before 30 June 2024.

Consider an adviser

Super and retirement planning is a complex area. Take care to understand the contribution types and limits carefully as there are significant tax penalties for exceeding the applicable contributions caps. If you’re unsure about your super options before 30 June and need some advice, consider consulting a licensed financial adviser.


Tony Kaye is a Senior Personal Finance Writer at Vanguard Australia, a sponsor of Firstlinks. This article is for general information purposes only and does not consider the circumstances of any individual.

For more articles and papers from Vanguard Investments Australia, please click here.


February 25, 2024

Thank you, this was a great article Tony. I followed your steps, found I had an unused balance and adjusted my super contributions accordingly. Thanks again. :)

Jason mc
February 23, 2024

Who made Super so complex

Jack McCartney
February 23, 2024

An interesting article. I followed your instructions regarding logging in to the myGov account and couldn’t find any details regarding the c/fwd concessional contributions for prior years per your steps above.
Could you advise how I can derive please.

Tony Kaye
February 24, 2024

Hi Jack, here's a step by step guide to see if you have any unused concessional contributions:
1 Login into the website
2 Click through to the Australian Tax Office (linked to your account)
3 Click Super in the menu
4 Click Information
5 Click Carry-forward concessional contributions
6 Scroll down the page to see any unused concessional contributions cap amounts available by financial year.

Alistair Mailer
February 22, 2024

Thanks for the article; Probable error in the 'carry forward' example :
In each of the 2019-2020 & 2020-2021 years there is only $5,000 available as unused carryover amount available ($25,000 limit less $20,000 contribution), not the $10,000 in each of these years as stated in your example. Hence grand total of only $35,000 in unused concessionally taxed contributions, not the $45,000 stated.

Tony Kaye
February 24, 2024

Alistair, apologies for my convoluted example. Here's my arithmetic:
2018-19 - Contribution of $15k left $10k to carry forward under previous cap (will roll off this financial year);
2019-20 - Contribution of $15k left $10k to carry forward under previous cap;
2020-21 - Contribution of $15k left $10k to carry forward under previous cap;
2021-22 - Contribution of $20k left $7,500 to carry forward under the current cap
2022-23 - Contribution of $20k left $7,500 to carry forward under the current cap
Total: $45k

Alistair Mailer
February 29, 2024

Hi Tony,
... But your article specifies a $20,00 contribution in the two years mentioned (2019-20 & 2020-21); quote from the article:
" In each subsequent financial year you made $20,000 in concessional contributions, so you also have $10,000 from both 2019-20 and 2020-21, and $7,500 from both 2021-22 and 2022-23."

Alistair Mailer


Leave a Comment:



2024/25 super thresholds – key changes and implications

Overcoming the fear of running out of money in retirement

Meg on SMSFs: Is contribution splitting a forgotten strategy?


Most viewed in recent weeks

Meg on SMSFs: Clearing up confusion on the $3 million super tax

There seems to be more confusion than clarity about the mechanics of how the new $3 million super tax is supposed to work. Here is an attempt to answer some of the questions from my previous work on the issue. 

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 566 with weekend update

Here are 10 rules for staying happy and sharp as we age, including socialise a lot, never retire, learn a demanding skill, practice gratitude, play video games (specific ones), and be sure to reminisce.

  • 27 June 2024

Australian housing is twice as expensive as the US

A new report suggests Australian housing is twice as expensive as that of the US and UK on a price-to-income basis. It also reveals that it’s cheaper to live in New York than most of our capital cities.

The catalyst for a LICs rebound

The discounts on listed investment vehicles are at historically wide levels. There are lots of reasons given, including size and liquidity, yet there's a better explanation for the discounts, and why a rebound may be near.

How not to run out of money in retirement

The life expectancy tables used throughout the financial advice and retirement industry have issues and you need to prepare for the possibility of living a lot longer than you might have thought. Plan accordingly.

The iron law of building wealth

The best way to lose money in markets is to chase the latest stock fad. Conversely, the best way to build wealth is by pursuing a timeless investment strategy that won’t be swayed by short-term market gyrations.

Latest Updates

Investment strategies

Have value investors been hindered by this quirk of accounting?

Investments in intangible assets are as crucial to many companies as investments in capital equipment. The different accounting treatment of these investments, however, weighs on reported earnings and could render ratios like P/E less useful for investors.

Investment strategies

Investors are threading the eye of the needle

As investors cram into ever narrower areas of the market with increasingly high valuations, Martin Conlon from Schroders says that sensible investing has rarely been such an uncrowded trade.


New research shows diverging economic impacts of climate change

There is universal consensus that the Earth is experiencing climate change. Yet there is far more debate about how this will impact different economies across the globe. New research sheds more light on the winners and losers.

SMSF strategies

How super members can avoid missing out on tax deductions

Claiming a tax deduction for personal super contributions can end in disappointment if it isn't done correctly. Julie Steed looks at common pitfalls and what is required for a successful claim.

Investment strategies

AI is not an over-hyped fad – but a killer app might be years away

The AI investment trend looks set to continue for years but there is only room for a handful of long-term winners. Dr Kevin Hebner also warns regulators against strangling innovation in the sector before society reaps the benefits.


Why certainty is so important in retirement

Retirement is a time of great excitement but it is also one of uncertainty. This is hardly surprising given the daunting move from receiving a steady outcome to relying on savings and investments.


This vital yet "forgotten" indicator of inflation holds good news

Financial commentators seem to have forgotten the leading cause of inflation: growth in the supply of money. Warren Bird explains the link and explores where it suggests inflation is headed.



© 2024 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

The data, research and opinions provided here are for information purposes; are not an offer to buy or sell a security; and are not warranted to be correct, complete or accurate. Morningstar, its affiliates, and third-party content providers are not responsible for any investment decisions, damages or losses resulting from, or related to, the data and analyses or their use. To the extent any content is general advice, it has been prepared for clients of Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892), without reference to your financial objectives, situation or needs. For more information refer to our Financial Services Guide. You should consider the advice in light of these matters and if applicable, the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision to invest. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product’s future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a professional financial adviser. Articles are current as at date of publication.
This website contains information and opinions provided by third parties. Inclusion of this information does not necessarily represent Morningstar’s positions, strategies or opinions and should not be considered an endorsement by Morningstar.