The maximum superannuation contribution base refers to the quarterly wage earned by an employee that the employer is required to pay Superannuation Guarantee payments on.

The Superannuation Guarantee Levy is the compulsory superannuation contribution that is to be paid by employers into the superannuation accounts on behalf their employees.

The Superannuation Percentage is increasing from 9.0% to 12% between 30 June 2013 and 1 July 2026, as follows:

Period Superannuation Guarantee Rate (Percentage %)
1 July 2003 – 30 June 2013 9%
1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014 9.25%
1 July 2014 – 30 June 2015 9.5%
1 July 2015 – 30 June 2016 9.5%
1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017 9.5%
1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018 9.5%
1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019 9.5%
1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020 9.5%
1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021 9.5%
1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022 10.0%
1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023 10.5%
1 July 2023 – 30 June 2024 11.0%
1 July 2024 – 30 June 2025 11.5%
1 July 2025 – 30 June 2026 12.0%

Maximum Superannuation Contributions Base

However, the SG Superannuation contributions required to be paid are capped, depending on the salary of the employee.

As SG contributions are made on a quarterly basis, the maximum superannuation contributions base is a quarterly figure.

The Superannuation Contribution Bases are as follows:

Income Year Per Quarter
2017-18 $52 760
2016-17 $51 620
2015-16 $50 810
2014-15 $49 430
2013-14 $48 040
2012-13 $45 750
2011-12 $43 820
2010-11 $42 220
2009-10 $40 170
2008-09 $38 180
2007-08 $36 470
2006-07 $35 240
2005-06 $33 720
2004-05 $32 180
2003-04 $30 560
2002-03 $29 220
2001-02 $27 510
2000-01 $26 300
1999-2000 $25 240
1998-99 $24 480
1997-98 $23 630
1996-97 $22 590
1995-96 $21 720
1994-95 $20 780
1993-94 $20 160
1992-93 $20 000

The figures above signify the maximum salary that an employer is required to calculate SG obligations on. This is not to say that an employer can’t pay SG on wages above this amount, it’s just that they are generally not required to – unless the employment agreement states otherwise. You should also be able to nominate the account your SG payments are made into using the Superannuation Choice Form.

In case you were wondering, it is not a requirement for an employee to meet the superannuation work test in order to receive mandated employer superannuation contributions. Read more about the Work Test here.

Here is a working example to show you how the maximum superannuation contribution base applies.

Let’ assume that, in the 2014-15 financial year, an employee earns $300,000 p.a. equally over the course of the year ($75,000/quarter). The employer is only required to pay superannuation guarantee payments on $49,430/quarter. Based on the SG rate of 9.5% in 2014-15 year, this equates to an employer SG obligation of $4,695.85/quarter ($18,783.40 p.a.). As you can see, this only equates to 9.5% on an annual wage of $197,720 ($49,430/quarter).

What about if earnings were unequal throughout the year?

The table below details an example of the application of the Maximum Superannuation Contribution Base in a situation where earning fluctuate throughout the year – for instance, where bonuses or commissions may apply.

Quarter Actual Earnings Maximum SG Contribution Base SG Rate SG Payable
1st Quarter $42 500 $49 430 9.50% $4 037.50
2nd Quarter $53 000 $49 430 9.50% $4 695.85
3rd Quarter $56 500 $49 430 9.50% $4 695.85
4th Quarter $46 000 $49 430 9.50% $4 370.00

The table above should give you a practical guide as to how the Maximum Superannuation Contribution Base is applied when earnings are volatile.

You also need to take into account the Concessional Contribution caps. Also, see more information for over 55’s here.

Also, as employer contributions are taxed upon entry, your salary will determine the level of contributions tax that you pay.

If you would like anything clarified or have any further questions about Maximum Superannuation Contribution Base  or any other topics, please do not hesitate to leave a comment in the section below and I will endeavour to respond within 24 hours.

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Chris Strano

Chris Strano is a specialist independent superannuation author for SuperGuy.com.au - one of Australia's leading superannuation information resources.

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