salary sacrifice

Boost your super with extra contributions from your before-tax pay through salary sacrifice. It’s never too late to start. A little extra now can go a long way tomorrow.



what is salary sacrificing?


Salary sacrificing is simply choosing an amount of money for your employer to put into your super account rather than your usual bank account every time you get paid.

It’s a ‘redirection’ to your future self: every dollar you put into your super today, can keep growing for when you retire.

Salary sacrifice contributions are also known as before-tax super contributions or ‘concessional’ contributions.



benefits of salary sacrifice


There are two main benefits to salary sacrificing:


Grow your super

Tipping in some of your before-tax salary into your super could surprise you in the future. You can put in as little or as much as you can afford each financial year up to $27,500 (this includes employer contributions).


Save on tax

Before-tax salary put directly into super is only taxed at 15%. If this is less than your marginal income tax rate, you could save more in super than you would have if you chose to receive it in your normal pay packet.




how does salary sacrificing work?




Meet Suzie

Suzie is 25 years old and works in health care. She earns $60,000 per year and wants to keep working until age 67.

She has $5,000 in her super and her objective is to help it grow.



What does Suzie’s future look like?



10% Super Guarantee



10% Super Guarantee +$20 a week



Suzie’s super balance is projected to be significantly higher if she contributes extra into super (before tax). 

As the first column shows, if Suzie decides she can’t make any extra contributions to her super and relies solely on the superannuation guarantee made by her employer, she will have approximately $457,200 in her super at retirement.

If Suzie decides to contribute an extra $20 per week from her before-tax income, it could mean she has an extra $65,000 in retirement.

This extra amount could help Suzie afford to update her kitchen, take a holiday – or just relax a little more.


*Assumptions based on: Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate assumed at 10% until 1 July 2022 when the rate increases by 0.5% per annum until it reaches and stays at 12% from 1 July 2025 onwards. Rate of return on investment of 6.0% after investment fees. The projections in the case studies exclude administration fees and insurance premiums within super. Tax contributions applied at 15%. Assume an inflation rate of 2.5% per annum. Salary is indexed at the inflation rate (2.5% p.a.). Future values of the projections are discounted by the inflation rate (2.5% p.a.) to today’s dollars. Projected account balance rounded to the nearest $100.

Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321. Investments may go up or down. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. You may wish to consult an adviser when doing this. Before making a decision about HESTA products you should read the relevant product disclosure statement (call 1800 813 327 or visit for a copy) and consider any relevant risks (






next steps


Decide how much you want to put into your super from each pay, then follow these steps:
  1. Complete the Salary sacrifice form (pdf)
  2. Provide it to your employer/payroll department. Once it has been set up, your next payslip should show the amount you're adding to your super.



Anyone can make after-tax contributions to their super directly and claim the deduction on their tax return.

This is ideal if your employer doesn't offer salary sacrifice or if you are fully (or mostly) self-employed.

To claim a tax deduction on your after-tax contributions, you’ll need to:

  1. Complete this ATO form. This will tell us the amount you’ll want to claim.
  2. Mail it to us. We need to receive and check your form, then let you know it's valid (whichever of the below comes first):
    • the date you lodge your tax return, OR
    • the last day of the financial year after the contribution was made, OR
    • you withdraw your super from HESTA, OR
    • you commence an Income Stream.
  3. If we’ve let you know the notice is valid, submit your tax return.


Learn more about after-tax contributions






things to know about salary sacrificing


If you earn a middle to high-income, you might save tax by making before-tax super contributions. This is because the tax you pay on your super is generally less than the tax you pay on your income.

However, before-tax contributions may not be as tax-effective for low-income earners. If you earn a low income and are looking for ways to boost your super, a government co-contribution could be a good alternative.


tax on, tax off: know your limits

Concessional (before tax) contributions

There is a limit on the total amount of concessional contributions (before tax) that can be made into your super account each financial year. Concessional contributions are your employer contributions (including those made as salary sacrifice) and personal contributions you claim as a tax deduction. If you go over the limit, you might pay extra tax.

The concessional contribution cap for everyone, regardless of age, is $27,500 per annum in the 2021/22 financial year.

Your cap may be higher if your total super balance is below $500,000 on 30 June and haven’t contributed to the full amount in previous financial years. This is known as the carry forward of unused concessional contribution cap – you can check if you have available cap capacity using the ATO services via your myGov account.

Things to consider:

  • If you exceed your concessional contribution limit in a financial year the excess amount is included in your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate.
  • You may also pay extra tax as the government applies a 15% tax offset (representing the amount of tax you’ve already paid when it was contributed to your super account). You may be able to elect to withdraw up to 85% of your excess concessional contributions to help pay the tax liability.
  • Any excess concessional contributions that are not taken from your super balance count toward your non-concessional contributions cap.


Tax for high income earners

If your income and concessional (before tax) contributions total more than $250,000 (this is the threshold for 2021/22 financial year) you could pay an additional 15% tax (30% in total) on some or all the contributions made to your super in the financial year. If you have to pay the extra tax, you’ll receive a notice of assessment from the ATO. You can pay the extra tax directly or allow the ATO to release it from your super fund.  

For more information on ways you can add to super, contribution caps and much more, read How super works (pdf).





Need some expert help with contributions?

Our super advisers can help work out a regular or lump sum contribution strategy that's right for you. You can see a super adviser at no extra cost: it’s all part of being with HESTA.