The new downsizer contribution rules allow older Australians to contribute proceeds from the sale of their home to their superannuation fund without the need to meet the usual required work test or the restrictions imposed by the usual contribution caps or the new total superannuation balance rules.
From 1 July 2018, individuals aged 65 or over may use the proceeds from the sale of an eligible dwelling that was their main residence to make superannuation contributions (referred to as ‘downsizer contributions’) up to a maximum of $300,000 per person (ie. up to $600,000 per couple), without having to satisfy the age of gainful employment tests that usually apply.
This measure was announced in the 2017-18 Federal Budget, and aims to provide an incentive for older Australians to ‘downsize’ their home.
This, in turn, is expected to reduce pressure on housing affordability by freeing up stocks of larger homes for growing families.
Importantly, it should be noted that there is no requirement for an individual to actually ‘downsize’ by acquiring a smaller property, or to even acquire another property at all.
In this regard, all that is required is that the individual (or their spouse) ‘downsizes’ by selling their main residence.
The individual can then move into any living situation that suits them, such as aged care, a retirement village, a bigger or smaller dwelling than the one sold, a rental or living with family.
Also, the property sold does not need to have been the individual’s (or their spouse’s) main residence during their entire ownership of it, provided the property was owned for at least 10 years and was their main residence at some time during the ownership period.
Therefore, the sale of an investment property that at one stage was their main residence may enable an individual (or their spouse) to make downsizer contributions.
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