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Heed restrictions on downsizer contributions

Downsizer contributions can be a valuable strategy for members who are retired or have reached their contributions caps to tip further funds into super, but advisers need to be aware of the restrictions around which property sales are eligible, according to a technical services expert.



Downsizer contributions can be a valuable strategy for members who are retired or have reached their contributions caps to tip further funds into super, but advisers need to be aware of the restrictions around which property sales are eligible, according to a technical services expert.

Fitzpatricks head of strategic advice Colin Lewis told SMSF Adviser the contributions were an ideal strategy for those who were older, no longer met the work test and couldn’t contribute any more to super through other means, as they did not count as a non-concessional contribution.

“It’s great for people who might not be able to contribute to super because they are aged 75 or more, or no longer working, or perhaps they’ve got too much in super already,” he said.

Mr Lewis said some of the common queries from advisers about the contributions were around eligibility and specifically the type of property being sold, as it made a difference to whether the contribution would be accepted.

“You get some weird and wonderful arrangements where people think they can do it — for example, someone might sell an investment property and think they can contribute, or they might subdivide a parcel of land into six but in that case they haven’t actually sold a house,” he said.

Mr Lewis clarified that downsizer contributions were only eligible if they were proceeds from a physical dwelling that was or had been a member’s main residence. 

However, beyond this there was no requirement for the member to be actually “downsizing” by moving to a smaller or lower-value home. 

“The ability to make a downsizer contribution from age 65 hinges on making the contribution within 90 days of settlement of a property that was owned for at least 10 years which qualified for the main residence exemption, so you could sell an investment property that was once your home and that would qualify,” he said.

“So, you don’t have to sell the last dwelling you’ve lived in to be able to qualify for it, but then again, you can’t just sell a straight-out investment property.”

Mr Lewis said he had also received queries about the effectiveness of the strategy for members that had already reached their transfer balance cap, but said contributing funds to accumulation stage accounts was still a tax-efficient option.

“People think if they’ve started an account-based pension and used their $1.6 million then why put more money in, but how else are they going to invest that money?” he said.

“If they are investing it outside and paying tax on their earnings, they are better off having it in accumulation phase even if they can’t get it into retirement phase.”



Sarah Kendell
30 August 2019


Sam El Shammaa

Sam El Shammaa

Director/Financial Planner

For more than 20 years, Sam has been a financial planner helping individuals and families achieve their financial planning goals, by providing advice on Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning; and Estate Planning. Working with a network of highly skilled professionals in Sydney he is dedicated to providing high-quality advice and integrated wealth management solutions that simplify and enhance the quality of his clients' lives.

Sam established his own firm in 1997 and has overseen its steady development and growth. Attention to detail, good listening skills and great empathy are symbols of his appreciation by his clients. He has built long-term relationships with his growing client base and aims to provide excellent customer service.

Sam began his financial planning career in 1993 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in 1991. Since this time he has accumulated many professional qualifications such as:

Sam has volunteered with the Cancer Council of NSW and can be seen almost every year volunteering or participating in the 7 bridges walk.

Away from the business, he enjoys spending weekends with his son. He is also a football (soccer) tragic and is a massive Chelsea FC fan.

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Jane entered the financial services industry in 2006, and worked with big blue-chip financial companies such as Count Financial Limited and AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd.

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Financial Planner

Paul has been a financial planner for over 15 years helping individuals and families successfully achieve their financial planning goals. He is very focused on building successful long-term harmonious relationships with his clients.

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Jenny is a University of New South Wales graduate who joined the team as an Administration Assistant. She is keen to put her customer service and organisational skills to use, making sure day to day operations run as smoothly as possible.

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