How super is taxed

This page will help you understand the rates of tax payable within super and why it's important to provide us with your TFN.

How super is taxed

Understanding the tax rules within super is important and can help you maximise your super savings. Contributions you receive from your employer and the contributions you make are taxed at a reduced rate.

You can be charged tax on contributions, investment earnings or when you withdraw your super.

There are also tax offsets available to members who are self-employed or who make personal contributions for their spouse.

Tax file numbers

It’s important we have your Tax File Number (TFN) so you can take advantage of the reduced tax rates within super (generally 15%).

If we don't have your TFN, any contribution your employer makes or any before-tax contributions you make (such as salary sacrifice) will be taxed at the highest marginal tax rate plus Medicare Levy, which is currently 47%. That is likely to make a big difference to your retirement savings over time.

If you are taxed at the higher rate, you may be able to apply for a refund if you provide us with your TFN. This is calculated within the three financial years following the financial year that the higher tax was paid.

Without your TFN:

  • You won't be able to take advantage of any government contributions which can help boost your super
  • You won’t be able to make after tax contributions
  • We won’t be able to look for any lost super you may have as your TFN helps to identify you between different super funds.

If we don't already have your TFN, you can provide it by:


Taxes apply to both your before-tax (concessional) and after-tax (non-concessional) contributions. The government has set contributions caps (limits) on the amount you can contribute in a financial year. This applies to both types of contributions. Higher taxes apply to contributions made over the relevant contribution caps, as detailed in the table below.

Tax rates and contribution limits for 2023-24 financial year

Before Tax
After Tax
Types of contributions includedEmployer contributions
Salary sacrifice
Government co-contribution1

Contribution Cap

$27,500 per year

If you had a total super balance of less than $500,000 on 30 June 2023, then you may be able to carry forward unused concessional contributions from previous financial years.

$110,000 per year

Individuals with a total superannuation balance of $1.9 million or more will have a non-concessional contributions cap of nil. If under 75, depending on balance, you may be eligible to contribute up to three times the annual non-concessional contributions cap in a single year. See the ‘Contribution cap’ section for further information.

Tax on contributions up to the cap


If your income and concessional contributions exceed $250,000 in financial year, you’ll be liable for additional tax of 15%. This applies to the lesser of the excess amount over $250,000 and the contributions.

Tax on excess amounts breaching the capYour marginal tax rate2 (less a 15% tax offset).

You have the option to withdraw from your Media Super account any excess concessional contributions made.

You have the option to withdraw from your Media Super account any excess non-concessional contributions made and 85% of associated earnings.

1. Government co-contributions are not counted towards your non-concessional contributions cap.

2. Including the Medicare Levy.

Note: The contribution caps apply to all contributions made by you, or on your behalf, in the financial year to all of your super funds. As Media Super will not be aware of your contributions to other super funds, it is up to you to monitor the total amount of contributions made by you or on your behalf in any financial year.

What if I go over the caps?

The ATO will send an assessment notice advising you of the additional tax and how to pay it. They will also notify you whether you’re eligible to apply for a refund of your excess contributions.

Investment Earnings

Your investment earnings are taxed up to a maximum of 15%.

This tax isn't charged as a direct fee but has already been deducted from your reported investment returns.

Withdrawing your super

When you withdraw your super, a tax may apply to the payment you receive. The amount of tax depends on your age and the condition of release under which you can access your super.

Your super balance is made up of two components – the taxable component and the tax-free component. The amount of tax applied to the taxable component of your payment depends on your age, as shown in the tables below.

Tax payable on lump sum withdrawals

Component of super benefitBelow Preservation agePreservation age to 59Age 60 and over

Your after-tax (non-concessional) contributions

Your before-tax (concessional) contributions and investment returns
The lower of your marginal tax rate and 20% + Medicare LevyNo tax up to $235,000*

The lower of your marginal tax rate and 15% + Medicare Levy on the remaining balance

*Applicable for the 2023-2024 financial year and indexed annually

Media Super will deduct the appropriate amount of tax from the payment you receive and pay it to the ATO. Higher tax rates may apply if you haven’t provided us with your TFN.

Different tax rates apply to income from a Media Super pension.

Permanent incapacity payments

If you are under 60 and a permanent incapacity benefit is payable (which may include a Total and Permanent Disability [TPD] benefit paid by the Insurer), part of the normal taxable component of your benefit may be recalculated to form part of the tax-free component.

Generally, the tax-free component is increased to reflect the period where you could have expected to be gainfully employed if the disability had not occurred. This amount is calculated on the basis of your age, length of service and the amount of your benefit.

You can access your benefit as a lump-sum withdrawal or you may choose to open a Media Super pension.

If you choose a lump sum, the above tax treatment applies; if you choose to receive an income stream payment, the following tax will apply

Tax payable on income stream

Component of super benefitBelow Preservation agePreservation age to 59Age 60 and over

Your after-tax (non-concessional) contributions

Your before-tax (concessional) contributions and investment returns
Your marginal tax rate with a tax offset of 15%our marginal tax rate with a tax offset of 15%Nil

For a concessional tax adjustment to apply, the following conditions must be satisfied:

  • Payment is made because you stopped being gainfully employed
  • You stopped being gainfully employed because you suffered from ill health (whether physical or mental)
  • Your gainful employment stopped before your last retirement day – generally before age 65
  • Two medical practitioners certify it’s unlikely you can ever be gainfully employed in a capacity for which you’re reasonably qualified by education, training or experience.

Tax and your beneficiaries

Upon dying, the death benefit paid to your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) may consist of your super balance and payout from your insurance cover (if any). The tax applied depends on your age, your beneficiary's age and whether they're a dependant.

Beneficiary is a Dependant for tax purposesBeneficiary is not a Dependant

Your after-tax (non-concessional) contributions

Your before-tax (concessional) contributions and investment returns
Nil15% + Medicare Levy

If you're departing Australia, find out if you're eligible to withdraw your super.

Additional tax offsets

Personal deductions

You may be able to claim a tax deduction on personal contributions (after-tax income) made to your super.

  • How much can I claim?

    You’re able to claim a tax deduction for all your super contributions in your tax return. However, the ATO will apply additional tax if your super contributions exceed the relevant before and after-tax contributions caps.

    You can only use this deduction to reduce your taxable income to nil. You can't add to, or create a loss for, your business through contributing.

    Everyone's circumstances are different. You may want to speak to your accountant or registered tax agent before making a claim to ensure you're claiming the right amount.

  • How can I claim?

    Use the ATO's Notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal contributions form to notify us of the amount you will claim. You will need to complete this form and notify us before the earliest of the dates when:

    • You lodge your tax return for the year the contributions were made
    • The end of the financial year after the financial year in which you made the contributions
    • You formally request a withdrawal benefit from the fund (if applicable).

    In addition, at the time of claiming the tax deduction:

    • Media Super must still hold these contributions
    • You must not have started a pension account from part or all of the these contributions, where payments have begun.
  • Important information

    • In most cases, your personal after-tax super contributions will not be taxed if you do not notify us that you intend to claim a deduction.
    • Super contributions tax will be calculated on the amount that you are claiming as a tax deduction. The tax will be deducted from your account and sent to the ATO.
    • If you operate a company, you do not need to claim a personal tax deduction. Super contributions made by a company are treated as employer contributions.

Spouse offset

If you are married or in a defacto relationship (including same-sex couples) and make contributions on behalf of your spouse, you may be eligible for a tax offset of up to $540.

The spouse making the contribution may receive an 18% tax offset on after-tax contributions (up to $3,000 per year) if the receiving spouse’s annual income is less than $37,000. A partial rebate applies if the receiving spouse earns between $37,000 and $40,000 per year.

Eligibility conditions apply. Please read the relevant product disclosure statement and related materials for more information.

If you've got questions, we've got answers

We understand managing your super can seem complex, we are ready to take your call with any questions you may have.