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Investment success contributor: Salary Packaging

Salary packaging as an investment success contributor

We are all looking for investment success contributors: salary packaging is one of the more accessible, and if used effectively, very successful.

Salary Packaging can lead to financial benefit

In readiness for the start of each new financial year, as we reflect on how effectively we have utilised the financial resources available to us during the past financial year, we often hear discussion about Salary Packaging: friends talk about how they sacrifice from their salary, payments for school expenses, mortgage payments, car leasing and of course, superannuation, to name just a few of the more ‘traditional’ items.

The intention is to pay personal (otherwise non-deductible expenses) from your salary ‘pre-tax’ and provided your employment and salary level meet the criteria, you should save tax on the arrangement: less money for the Tax Office; more money for you to invest.

Rules apply to Salary Packaging/ Sacrificing arrangements

The ATO publishes information about the process – and prominently disclose that they are unable to provide advice to taxpayers as to what they should or should not salary package (sacrifice) in their individual circumstances. Nevertheless, the information they provide is invaluable, if wordy. (We have extracted relevant information and published the ‘slightly’ shorter version.)

The significant first criterion is that only income that is yet to be earned can be sacrificed: once you have earned an amount (accrued holiday pay, declared bonus, long service leave etc) you cannot in retrospect, expect to ‘sacrifice’ that amount. (The ATO information makes that point early in their guide – ignore that feature at your taxation peril.)

Limitations to Salary Sacrificing arrangements

A couple of other points to consider:

  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) will apply to many salary packaged expense items; and
  • Contribution caps apply to superannuation contributions, whether paid under the employer’s obligation under the superannuation guarantee scheme or from salary sacrificed amounts.

We strongly recommend that you consult with your accountant/ taxation adviser in relation to FBT matters: they may also be able to assist with information about your superannuation contribution limits – but your financial planner will certainly be able to guide you on this matter: the best time to consider this is prior to starting a new employment contract term – and if that is not defined, the commencement of a new financial year is ideal.

Financial advice about Salary Sacrificing arrangements

Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd has a team of experienced advisers who are competent to provide advice on salary packaging matters (and are often called upon to sign off on arrangements clients want to put in place with their employers); to benefit from personalised, professional wealth management advice on this topic arrange a meeting with one of our team: ‘we listen, we understand; and we have solutions’ – call us on 07-34213456; or use the website Contact Us facility and be assured of prompt and courteous attention.

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Formal information provided on the ATO website is linked here. Another useful government site in this regard, is MoneySmart hosted by ASIC: read their material about salary packaging here.
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