The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS Scheme) was introduced by the Australian Government in the Federal Budget 2017-18. The Super Saver Scheme was introduced to reduce pressure on housing affordability.
FHSS makes it easier for home buyers to save for a deposit on their first home. This is achieved by saving for a home deposit inside a super fund which has lower tax rates. Furthermore, super funds may have a higher rate of return over a standard savings account.
From 1 July 2017, first home buyers can make voluntary contributions (both before and after tax) of up to $15,000 per year up to a total of $30,000 across all years, to their superannuation account in order to purchase a first home. These contributions along with the earnings can then be withdrawn for a home deposit in the future.
You can use this scheme if you are a first home buyer and both of the following apply: - You either live in the premises you are buying, or intend to as soon as practicable. - You intend to live in the property for at least six months of the first 12 months you own it, after it is practical to move in.
There are a number of important things you need to know if you plan to use the FHSS scheme:
- You can only apply for release once.
- After you have requested the release, it may take up to 25 business days for you to receive your money.
You have 12 months from the date the first FHSS amount is released to you, to do one of the following:
- Sign a contract to purchase or construct your home - you must notify the ATO within 28 days of signing the contract.
- Recontribute the assessable FHSS amount (less tax withheld) into your super fund and notify the ATO within 12 months of the first FHSS amount being released to you.
- If you choose to keep the FHSS money, you will be subject to the FHSS tax. This is a flat tax equal to 20% of your assessable FHSS released amounts and not the total amount released.
You can start making super contributions from any age, but you can't request a release of amounts under the FHSS scheme until you are 18 years old.
Also, you must have:
- Never owned property in Australia – this includes an investment property, vacant land, commercial property, a lease of land in Australia, or a company title interest in land in Australia
- Not previously requested the Commissioner to issue a FHSS release authority in relation to the scheme.
The Government has provided an online estimator to assist first home buyers understand the advantages of saving for a home deposit this way through their superannuation fund. The estimator can be found at www.budget.gov.au/estimator.
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact Melbourne Tax Advisory on 1300 942 230.