‘Surprising’ take-up with first home super saver scheme
Figures from the ATO indicate that around $5.3 million in voluntary super contributions and earnings has been released under the First Home Super Saver Schemes to individuals looking to purchase a home.
The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS), which received Royal assent on 13 December 2017, enables individuals over 18 who have never owned a home to apply to release voluntary contributions from their fund to buy their first home.
From 1 July 2018, individuals have been able to withdraw these voluntary contributions along with the deemed earnings, for a deposit, with withdrawals taxed at a marginal tax rate less a 30 per cent offset.
ATO data indicates that during the period 1 July to 6 August 2018, 1,449 FHSS determinations were made and 592 people requested a release of their FHSS amount.
In the same period, the ATO issued 498 release authorities to super funds totalling $5,341,856. This equates to an average requested release amount of about $10,727.
In an online article, SuperCentral said the level of uptake of the FHSS in its first few months of operation is surprising for a couple of reasons.
“There would seem to have been too little time for a material amount of eligible contributions to have been made and only one year’s worth of earnings accrued to make a release worthwhile. Qualifying contributions are subject to the double cap requirement of $15,000 per financial year and $30,000 in total,” said SuperCentral.
The document provider acknowledged that the government did provide a sweetener for the 2017-18 financial year by allowing earnings on those contributions to be treated as though they were made on 1 July 2017 as the ATO had no means of capturing the date on which the contribution was made during the 2017-18 financial year.
“The second [reason] is that the scheme operates on a once-only access basis. While an individual can make any number of requests for FHSS Determinations - these are simply a determination by the ATO of how much an individual can access - they can only make one request for an FHSS release authority,” SuperCentral explained.
“If the authority is issued, then the individual can no longer request another release authority even if they continue to make voluntary super contributions or did not use the released amount.”