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Contribution caps: How much is too much?

6 February 2024

Superannuation is one of the best ways to save for your retirement, thanks mainly to the generous tax incentives that apply to certain types of superannuation contributions.

However, there are limits to how much you can contribute. These limits are called your contribution caps, and there are two types:

  • Concessional contributions cap – your limit for before-tax contributions to super, such as employer contributions and salary sacrificing.
  • Non-concessional contributions cap – your limit for after-tax contributions to super, such as personal contributions using money that has already been taxed.

If you exceed your contribution caps for the financial year, you may have to pay extra tax.

Concessional contributions cap

A concessional contribution is one made from before-tax money and includes the following:

  • All employer contributions including Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions, currently at 11% of salary per year (2023/24) – some industry or individual arrangements may be higher.
  • Money put into your super through salary sacrifice.
  • Any personal contributions you claim as a tax deduction.

Concessional contributions are taxed at 15% which, for most people, tends to be lower than their marginal rate.

However, a concessional contributions cap of $27,500 applies to all individuals, regardless of age, for the 2023/24 financial year. Concessional contributions you make above the $27,500 cap will be taxed at your marginal tax rate (less a tax offset for the contributions tax already paid). So, if your marginal tax rate is higher than the normal contributions tax rate of 15%, you would need to make up the difference when you submit your tax return.

Carry-forward allowance

If you expect (or intend) to exceed the concessional contributions cap this financial year, it may be possible to carry forward any unused amounts of your cap from previous financial years – as long as your Total Superannuation Balance was less than $500,000 at the end of the previous financial year.

For example, let’s assume your concessional contributions in 2022/23 totalled $22,000. This means you were below the $27,500 contributions cap for that financial year by $5,500. In the 2023/24 financial year, you can choose to carry forward that unused portion to effectively increase your contributions cap to $33,000 (i.e. $27,500 + $5,500).

The first year from which you were entitled to carry forward unused amounts was the 2018/19 financial year. Unused amounts are available for a maximum of five years, after which they will expire.

How would I exceed the cap?

People can often exceed the concessional contributions cap if they:

  • Earn a high income.
  • Receive more than the standard superannuation guarantee (SG) contribution.
  • Contribute additional money, such as via a salary sacrifice arrangement.

Consider Rachel, who will earn a salary of $180,000 this financial year, receives the standard 11% SG contribution from her employer, and decides to salary sacrifice an additional 5% of her pre-tax salary to super.

Rachel's SG contribution at 11% of $180,000 $19,800
Rachel's salary sacrifice contribution at 5% of $180,000 $9,000
Rachel's total contribution of $19,800 + $9,000 $28,800

In this scenario, Rachel is likely to exceed the 2023/24 concessional contributions cap and may choose to adjust her future contributions strategy to avoid further tax implications. This is based on the assumption that Rachel has no carry-forward allowance from previous financial years.

Non-concessional contributions cap

Non-concessional contributions are payments into your super using money that has already been taxed, including:

  • Contributions made from after-tax money.
  • Any spouse contributions you receive.
  • Any personal contributions not claimed as a tax deduction.

Non-concessional contributions are capped at $110,000 for the 2023/24 financial year, although individuals with a Total Superannuation Balance of $1.9 million and more are not eligible to make non-concessional contributions.

If you exceed the non-concessional contributions cap, your excess contributions could be taxed at the maximum rate of 47%.

Bring forward rule

If you are under age 75 at any point in a financial year you may be able to ‘bring forward’ the next two years’ non-concessional contributions caps, meaning you can contribute up to $330,000 (depending on your super balance) without exceeding the cap. Generally, this amount can be contributed as one lump sum or spread over the three years, but eligibility criteria may apply. And if you entered into a bring forward arrangement before 1 July 2021, the previous bring forward limit of $300,000 applies. Find out more in our Contribution caps information sheet.

Additional tax for high income earners

If you’re a high-income earner, you may be liable for an additional tax on your superannuation contributions, known as Division 293 tax.

Division 293 tax is an additional 15% tax on certain contributions and is generally payable if your combined income and concessional contributions for Division 293 purposes is more than $250,000 in the financial year.

If you are liable for this extra tax, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will calculate the amount payable when you submit your annual tax return and advise you accordingly.

You can find out more about Division 293 tax, including examples, on the ATO website.

I want to stay under the caps – what should I do?

It’s important to keep track of your super contributions during the financial year, particularly if you’re contributing to multiple funds, as we are unable to warn you before you exceed a cap.

Similarly, if you have chosen to make additional contributions to super, knowing how much capacity you have under your caps can help you determine how much you’re willing to contribute.

The simplest way to track contributions to your Brighter Super Accumulation account is by logging into Member Online, where your account dashboard will display your contribution totals and caps for the financial year. Members with a Defined Benefit account can contact us for up-to-date totals.

To view contributions across multiple funds, you will need to log in to your MyGov portal.

If you would prefer to stay under the concessional contributions cap, you may want to consider other options such as contributing from after-tax money rather than salary sacrifice.

You may also choose to seek financial advice on how best to manage your contributions. Brighter Super members can receive advice on a single topic related to super, such as contribution options, at no additional cost1.

Contact us to make an enquiry or book an appointment.


Phone: 1800 444 396 (Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 5.30 pm AEST)


  1. Brighter Super Financial Advisers are Authorised Representatives of Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS) ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL No 232514. ESI Financial Services is a wholly owned entity of LGIAsuper Trustee (ABN 94 085 088 484) as trustee for LGIAsuper (ABN 23 053 121 564) trading as Brighter Super. ESI Financial Services provides financial services to Brighter Super members and employers under a service agreement with Brighter Super. ESI Financial Services has engaged IFS to facilitate the provision of financial advice to Brighter Super members. ESI Financial Services has also engaged Link Advice Pty Limited ABN 36 105 811 336, AFSL No 258145 to provide Brighter Super members with access to limited personal advice over the phone in respect to Brighter Super products.

LGIAsuper Trustee (ABN 94 085 088 484) (AFSL 230511) (the Trustee) as trustee for LGIAsuper (ABN 23 053 121 564) (RSE R1000160) (the Fund) trading as Brighter Super. Brighter Super products are issued by the Trustee on behalf of the Fund. Brighter Super may refer to the Trustee or LGIAsuper as the context may be. This article may contain general advice which does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. As such, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your own objectives, financial situation and needs prior to making any decision. You should consult a licensed financial advisor if you require advice which does take into account your personal financial circumstances. You should also obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making any decision to acquire any products. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the PDSs and TMDs at