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First Home Super Saver Scheme

Can I use my super to buy my first home?

If you’re a first home buyer, you can use part of your super to help buy your first home. You can ask the ATO to release up to $30,000, plus the associated earnings, of your voluntary contributions or salary sacrifice payments made after 1 July 2017, which can help with your deposit.

It’s all through a government initiative called the First home super saver (FHSS) scheme.

Only superannuation that you have paid yourself, such as personal or salary sacrifice contributions can be used, not contributions made by your employers. You must also be an eligible first home buyer. 

Before choosing to take up the scheme, it’s important to consider whether it is right for you or if saving up for a deposit in the more traditional sense – without using your superannuation fund – is more appropriate. This article outlines the circumstances which may see you benefitting (or not) from taking up the scheme.

If you do choose to take up the scheme, once approved you can withdraw funds to use towards a deposit or the balance of your first home. Remember, you’ll need to show that you’re accessing your super from your account solely for the purpose of buying your home in Australia.

However, if you do take up the scheme and your application is rejected by the ATO, your contributions will remain in your super fund until you reach preservation age.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must be:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A first home owner who has never owned property or a share in any property, including land, investment property or commercial real estate (unless you have suffered financial hardship as determined by the ATO)
  • A first-time applicant, who has not applied for the scheme before.

Since applications are based on each individual, you may still be eligible even if someone you’re buying the home with is not. For example, if you are a first homebuyer but your partner is not, you may still be able to access your own super contributions, even though your partner won’t be able to access theirs.

Steps - super and your first home.

Accessing your voluntary super contributions to put towards buying your home is easy.

Start by making voluntary contributions to your super account. It could be through pre-tax salary sacrificing or after-tax personal payment.

You don’t need to create a separate super account. Your contributions go straight into your regular account and work for you there, while you’re saving up for the rest of your deposit. And because your payments are just normal voluntary contributions, you don’t even need to notify your super fund of your intentions.

Once you’re in a position to buy your first home, you simply apply to the ATO to release the funds you’ve been saving in your super – up to a maximum of $30,000. You can do this online via your MyGov account linked to the ATO. It’s important to complete this process prior to signing the contract to buy or build your new home. You then have 12 months from when the first amount is released in which to sign the contract to buy or build your home.

If you need more information – or just reassurance – talk with a financial planner at your Industry SuperFund.

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