Will I be taxed on my early release of super payment if I return to work full time?
24 July 2020
No. Any super you access early under the Government’s COVID-19 Early Access to Super Scheme is tax-free and does not need to be included in your tax return — provided you were eligible to receive the payment at the time of your application.
If your work hours were reduced and you applied to access some of your super early to help cover bills and meet expenses, you will not be penalised for returning to full-time hours after receiving this payment.
However, the ATO is taking action against any individual who deliberately exploits the system to access super they are not entitled to.
This includes individuals who:
apply for early release of super when there is no change to their regular salary and wage or employment information
artificially arrange affairs to meet the eligibility criteria
make false statements or fraudulent attempts to meet the eligibility criteria
withdraw and recontribute super for a tax advantage
While the ATO does not ask for proof of eligibility when you apply for the scheme, you should keep records and documents to confirm your eligibility if they ask for it.
Supporting documents can include payslips, letters or emails from your employer, or a separation certificate.
The ATO will review and investigate where it is concerned the application was not genuine.
If you are asked for evidence and are unable to demonstrate eligibility, the ATO may revoke the determination issued for your application.
This means the amount paid to you under COVID-19 early release of super will become assessable income, and will need to be included in your tax return, and you will pay tax on the released amount.
If you are not sure if you are eligible or are concerned you applied when you were not eligible, you can contact the ATO on 13 10 20 to discuss your specific situation. The ATO will assist you if you have made a genuine mistake.
If the ATO determines you have deliberately exploited the system, the consequences may include the requirement to pay administrative penalties and interest in addition to tax on the early release of super.
If you provide false or misleading information you could face penalties of more than $12,000 for each false and misleading statement.
For more information about complying with early release payments, go to ato.gov.au
There have been reports of criminals looking to unlawfully access peoples super via the early release scheme.
Please note, we will never initiate contact with you regarding early release of your super or about any other Government initiative.
If anyone calls you and offers to assist you to access your super, please contact us immediately so we can take appropriate action.
If you believe your personal information has been compromised, you should contact the ATO immediately.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also released this helpful Scam Watch guide to help identify potential super scams.