Centrelink deemed income
Biggest mistake most people make, is underestimating how much money they will need to retire comfortably and not putting enough away. The pension from Centrelink certainly won’t be sufficient if you plan to buy birthday and Christmas presents as well as eat and pay the general cost of living. You can certainly forget about travelling and other holiday plans.
When considering your eligibility for a pension, did you know that Centrelink consider both your assets and your income in determining how much pension you will qualify for. In some circumstances they may also deem you have earned an income even if you haven’t.
Take for instance Bob. He retires with some investments in a trust account. Centrelink will deem him an income on top of the trust profits, therefore reducing his pension to almost nothing. However, if Bob transfers the investments into his personal name instead of the trust account, Centrelink will ignore any income from the investment and just deem a percentage of income. Although Bob will need to declare his income in his own personal tax return, there are however, various tax offsets available once you reach pension age and in most cases they are sufficient to cover the tax you would have had to pay on your taxable income for the year.
The deemed income rules also apply if you have some money in superannuation and you have reached the preservation age. Even if you elect not to drawdown a pension from your super fund, Centrelink will deem you to have received a % as income.
There are ways around this and it is important to see an accountant and financial planner to ensure that your affairs are set up to your advantage. In addition, there are Centrelink staff who will come and talk at your event to show you how to get the most pension from Centrelink.
Transition to Retirement
Are you are 55 years or older and working but are considering retirement soon? You can effectively sacrifice a large portion of your salary into your super fund, thus reducing the tax you pay, then drawing down a tax free pension from your super fund that tops up your disposable income.
Consider Jane age 55, earning $50,000 in gross income. She pays tax of $8850 plus 1.5% medicare levy leaving net $41150. If she puts $20,000 into her super fund, she will reduce her gross income to $30,000. She will only pay $3600 tax leaving $26400 net income. She then takes a pension of $14,750 so that she still has net income of $41150. Jane’s super fund pays tax at 15% on the $20,000 contribution ($3000) meaning total tax paid is $6600. This is a total saving of $2250.
There are many different strategies available to save you tax and put more money into your retirement. Act now and speak to your accountant or financial adviser.
Centrelink can assist:
Your local Centrelink office usually has an adviser available to sit down with you and assess your eligibility for a full pension. They can advise you on what you are entitled to depending on your current financial position, your assets and liabilities. Contact your nearest office for an appointment with one of their appointed advisers.
*Please note Centrelink cannot give financial advice and cannot guide you on what investments you should acquire.