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I want to check if my understanding here is correct:

Here's my situation:

I earn $135K + super, my wife earns basically nothing, she gets a scholarship which is not taxable income.

I am a NZ Citizen on a SC444 visa, and she's from South Asia on a student visa doing her PhD.

We're looking at buying a house in about a year or so.

Now, first things is that under the Australian super scheme, you can make contributions of up to $25K/year which are taxed at a lower rate than your normal income tax. Additionally, if in previous years (for up to five years) you haven't reached that cap, you can 'carry over' the unused amount.

This means that I can quite safely salary sacrifice around $30K over the next year and be receiving this lower tax rate.

Now the first question is - there is the First Home Saver Scheme that lets me withdraw upto $30K for a first home.

Are there any hidden costs here that I'm not considering? ie. taxes paid when using super this way?

Because it otherwise seems like a nobrainer to me, that instead of saving my money the normal way, it's much better for me to just funnel my money into Super and then withdraw it via FHSS - of course, I can only withdraw $30k.

The second thing is, it seems that you can contribute to your partner's super. Now, it seems like you have to contribute after tax earnings, and you can only contribute $3000 a year to get a benefit ($540 tax credit).

But can your partners super also be withdrawn via FHSS to potentially count for $60K towards a house deposit?

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  • The concessional contributions cap of $25 k/ yr includes your employer contribution. – 1123581321 May 23 '20 at 10:40
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Note that you cannot contribute more than $27,500K per year(was $25,000 until 30 June 2021) into your super fund as concessional contribution (pre-tax contributions). You can however contribute an additional $100k per year in post-tax contributions (or $300k over a 3 year period - so if you contribute $300k now you cannot contribute any more for another 3 years).

Saying that, your ATO link specifies "You can apply to have a maximum of $15,000 of your voluntary contributions from any one financial year included in your eligible contributions to be released under the FHSS scheme, up to a total of $30,000 contributions across all years. You will also receive an amount of earnings that relate to those contributions."

So you need to specify to your super fund that those contributions you are making (a maximum of $15k per year) are to go towards your FHSS. You should be able to do the same with your wifes account, but obviously only with post-tax contributions.

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