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There are several ways that serving members of the Australian Defence Force can contribute to their super.

You'll automatically receive an employer contribution of 16.4% from the ADF. You can also make extra contributions to your super if you choose.

Types of contributions

The types of contributions that can be made by you or on your behalf include:

  • 16.4% employer contribution
  • salary sacrificed contributions
  • personal contributions
  • spouse contributions
  • government co-contributions
  • rollover from another fund
  • Superannuation Guarantee shortfall amounts from the Australian Taxation Office.
  • Spouse Contribution Splitting.

While there are technically no limits on the amount you can contribute, you will have to pay a higher tax rate if you make contributions over a certain amount. There are different caps for before and after tax contributions.

Visit the Tax and your ADF Super page for more information.

Before deciding to make extra contributions to your super, consider your personal financial situation and objectives. You should also seek independent financial advice, or consider attending one of our education seminars.

16.4% employer contribution

The Australian Defence Force contributes a generous 16.4% of your ordinary time earnings (i.e. your wages) to ADF Super. This is paid each payday that you serve in the permanent forces or as a continuous full-time reservist. You don't need to make any personal contributions from your salary to get the 16.4% employer contribution.

The employer contribution is based on the hours you worked. If you work part time, your contribution will be calculated at a rate of 16.4% of your hours worked.

What do I need to do to get the employer contribution?

ADF Super is the default fund for all employees of the permanent forces and continuous full-time reservists. This means if you don't choose another fund, you will become a member of ADF Super and your 16.4% employer contributions will automatically be paid to ADF Super and invested in the MySuper Balanced default investment option.

When you first start your employment with the ADF, you will be given forms to complete.

We recommend that you provide ADF Super with your Tax File Number (TFN) so we can make sure you are taxed correctly. If you haven't given us your TFN, please call us to provide your TFN over the phone, complete a Provision of Tax File Number form, or update your records by logging into ADF Super Member Online.

You do not have to provide your TFN. However, if you do not provide your TFN, ADF Super will not be able to accept any personal contributions from you.

Next steps: If you only want to receive your employer contribution, you don't need to take any action. Make sure you have completed all forms that your payroll team gives you, and that you have provided your TFN.

Can I still contribute if I leave the military?

If you are no longer in the permanent forces or a continuous full-time reservist, you cannot contribute to ADF Super. This includes employer contributions from a new employer as well as all additional contributions.

Extra contributions you can make to your super

Salary sacrifice (before-tax) contributions

Salary sacrifice payments are before-tax contributions, which are taxed at 15% on entry to your account. 

What are the benefits of salary sacrificing?

Salary sacrifice payments are before-tax contributions, which are taxed at 15% on entry to your account. This means that if your income is taxed at more than 15% (rates range up to 47%), you may pay less tax (only 15%) on any before-tax contribution you make.

Does it mean I get paid less each fortnight?

If you salary sacrifice your super contributions, you will have less take home pay each fortnight. However, this may be a tax-effective way to save for your retirement if your personal tax rate is greater than 15%, as the amount going into your super may be more than the amount your take home pay is reduced by.

The amount you decide to contribute is entirely up to you, so you can make sure it’s affordable and within your budget.

How do I set it up?

You can only make salary sacrificed contributions if you are an ADF Super member who is serving in the permanent forces or as a continuous full time reservist.

Contact your payroll area to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement, and set up a regular amount to be deducted from each pay. Once it’s set up, the nominated amount will automatically be deducted from your salary and paid into your ADF Super account until you decide to end the arrangement.

Contribution caps: Don't forget to consider the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps when making extra contributions. See the Australian Taxation Office website for more information.

Next steps: Contact your payroll area to set up an automatic deduction for salary sacrifice contributions.

Personal (after-tax) contributions

These contributions are made from your after-tax salary. You can make after-tax contributions directly to ADF Super, or through your employer. These may qualify you for a government co-contribution. After-tax contributions are also known as 'non-concessional contributions’.

There are two ways you can make personal contributions:

Option 1: BPAY

Option 2: An arrangement with your employer

BPAY is good for contributing lump sums or making an extra contribution every now and then.

To make a BPAY payment, simply log into ADF Super Member Online, click on contributions and follow the prompts to generate your BPAY and Customer Reference Number (CRN). Once you have obtained your CRN, you can make a BPAY payment by logging into your financial institution.

You will need a password to use ADF Super Member Online. If you don't have a password, or have misplaced it, please contact us.

If you want to make regular after-tax contributions, you can set up an arrangement to automatically deduct super contributions from your after-tax salary.

Simply contact your personnel section or payroll department. If you wish to contribute before-tax amounts to super each pay period, ask your personnel section about your salary sacrifice options.

Claiming tax deductions: You are able to claim a tax deduction for personal (after-tax) contributions made into your ADF Super account after 1 July 2017. Any amounts claimed as a tax deduction will have 15% tax deducted and be counted towards your concessional (before-tax) contribution cap. For further information about this type of contribution, and to download the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Intent to claim a Deduction for super contributions or vary a previous notice form refer to the Australian Taxation Office website. The completed form should be posted to ADF Super.

Contribution caps: Don't forget to consider the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps when making extra contributions. Visit the Australian Taxation Office website for more information.

Next steps: Make an after-tax contribution by BPAY or an arrangement with your employer.

Spouse contributions

Your spouse may be able to make extra contributions to your account on your behalf. A spouse is someone who is:

  • legally married to you, or
  • in a bona fide domestic relationship with you (includes same-sex partners).

What tax do I pay on spouse contributions?

A rebate/tax offset up to a maximum of $540 is available if you make contributions on behalf of your low-income or non-working spouse. There are two conditions of eligibility:

  1. your spouse’s assessable income, reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer superannuation contributions must be less than $40,000 a year, and
  2. Both you and your spouse must be Australian residents.

Any contributions your spouse makes for you will count towards your non-concessional contributions cap.

How do I make a spouse contribution?

To make a spouse contribution, pay via BPAY through your online account or complete a voluntary contributions form.

Super co-contribution

If you are a low-to-middle income earner, the Australian Government may help to boost your super savings through the super co-contribution payment.

Eligible individuals can take advantage of the co-contribution payment by making personal super contributions to their super fund. The government will then match your contributions up to a maximum amount.

Eligibility requirements include earning below a maximum income threshold, making a personal contribution to super in the income year, and lodging your tax return.

Any co-contribution amount paid into your account will be shown on your annual benefit statement for the relevant financial year.

For more information about the super co-contribution payment, including eligibility and how much you might get, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

Low income contributions

Low income contributions are made by the government to the superannuation fund of low income earners. The purpose of these contributions is to ‘refund’ the 15% tax paid on the concessional (before tax) contributions you or your employer pays into your super fund.

For the 2016–17 financial year this contribution was called a low income superannuation contribution (LISC). From 2017-18 financial year onwards, this contribution is called a low income superannuation tax offset (LISTO).

The maximum you can receive from LISC and LISTO for a financial year is $500, and the minimum is $10. If you’re eligible for less than $10, the ATO will round this up to $10.

For further information, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

Government co-contributions are paid automatically if you are eligible and have given your TFN to ADF Super.

Rollover from another fund

Provided you are currently employed by the ADF, you can roll over your other super accounts into ADF Super. Visit the Transferring Super page for details. 

Next steps: Visit the Transferring Super page for detailed instructions.

Superannuation Guarantee shortfall amount

If you are owed a super guarantee amount from a previous employer, this can be transferred to ADF Super by the Australian Taxation Office. Visit their website for more information

Next steps: The ATO will arrange to transfer any Superannuation Guarantee shortfall amounts to your account. Visit the ATO website for more information.

Contributions after age 65

After the age of 65, there are limitations on the types of contributions you can make to your super. The table below contains more details.

Member’s age

Contributions that can be accepted

Under 65

Any contributions. However, we can only accept personal contributions made by the member if their tax file number (TFN) has been provided.

65 to 74

Mandated employer contributions (includes super guarantee contributions).

Other employer contributions or member contributions, as long as you satisfy the work test for that year and you have provided your TFN. This means that you must be gainfully employed for at least 40 hours in a period of not more than 30 consecutive days in the financial year. Please note that unpaid work does not meet the definition of 'gainfully employed'.

75 and over

Only mandated employer contributions (includes super guarantee contributions).