Carry Forward and Bring Forward Rules

A new way to top up your super, tax effectively.

Your super is the only investment you have that offers a favourable tax treatment over time. A lower tax rate means you have more available funds to fulfil a purposeful retirement.

Tax advantages are available to everyone from the moment you start earning super through to your retirement:

  • On the way in – when you can claim a tax deduction for personal contributions,
  • On the way through – when your superannuation makes earnings (taxed at a maximum rate of 15% but often much less due to tax credits earned) and,
  • On the way out – when you finally retire your superannuation can be converted to a 100% tax free source of income.

A new opportunity to receive a tax advantage ‘on the way in’ is now available. You may be aware that there are two ways to put money into your super and assist you to boost your super account balance. You can make concessional or before tax contributions up to $25,000 each year or you can make non-concessional or after-tax contributions up to $100,000 each year (or more depending on circumstances).


Carry forward rule – Concessional Contributions

Concessional Contributions (CC) can now be increased through Carry forward contributions. The 2019/20 financial year is the first year you are entitled to the Carry forward rule.

How does it work?

From 1 July 2018, the annual concessional (before tax) contributions cap has been $25,000. The Carry forward rule allows you to catch up on CC in a financial year by utilising any unused portion of the CC cap on a rolling basis for 5 years, providing your total superannuation balance is less than $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year. Any amount not used after five years expires.

Case study

Ruth has $100,000 in her super account.  During 2018/19 she took time off work to care for her ill father, and as a result, only $10,000 concessional contributions (CC) were paid into her super account.

As a result, in the 2019/20 tax year, she can contribute $40,000 in CC into her account. This is comprised of the unused CC in the 2018/19 tax year and the $25,000 concessional contribution cap for the 2019/20 tax year.


The table below shows how Ruth can carry forward $15,000 in unused CCs in 2018/19 and $15,000 a year thereafter.

The table also summarises what Ruth could contribute each financial year if she wanted to use up the carried forward unused cap amounts.

Financial Year (FY) Annual CC cap Carry forward cap (available start of FY) Concessional contribution made Unused cap carried forward to EOFY*
2018/19 $25,000 $15,000 $10,000 $15,000
2019/20 $25,000 $40,000 $10,000 $30,000
2020/21 $25,000 $55,000 $15,000 $45,000
2021/22 $25,000 $70,000 $20,000 $50,000
2022/23 $25,000 $75,000 $10,000 $65,000

*End of financial year

For full details on CC and the carry forward rule, please visit the ATO website.

What are the benefits?

This change enables those who were not able to contribute to their CC cap in previous years to make catch-up contributions. Individuals with an irregular work-pattern or who have taken time off work, can also benefit from the tax concessions available within super in the same way as an individual who earns a regular income.

Things to consider

  • The CC cap is the difference between your total CC (outlined below) and the CC cap of $25,000 per annum. Total CC include:
    • Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions from your employer.
    • Salary sacrifice contributions that your employer is paying on your behalf.
    • Personal deductible contributions where you have submitted a Notice of Intent to claim a tax deduction (i.e. converting non-CC to CC).
  • Only unused cap amounts from the 2018–19 financial year onwards can be carried forward.
  • You may not be eligible to utilise unapplied unused CC cap if your total super balance is over $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year.
  • If you contribute more than what you are allowed, you will be taxed at your marginal tax rate.
  • Oldest unused CC caps are applied first, therefore, it is important to track how much of an unapplied unused CC cap is utilised in a later financial year.
  • You cannot access your super until you meet a condition of release such as preservation age and retiring.


Bring forward rule – Non-Concessional Contributions

Non-Concession Contributions (NCC) can now be increased through bring forward contributions.

How does it work?

From 1 July 2017, the annual non-concessional (after tax) contributions cap has been $100,000. The Bring forward rule allows you to make NCC of up to three times the annual contributions cap in a single financial year (3 x $100,000 = $300,000 in 2018/2019 or 2019/2020), providing your total superannuation balance is less than $1.6 million on 30 June of the previous financial year.

Case study

Carl is aged 52 and his total superannuation balance is currently $650,000, but he would like to boost his retirement savings in the years before his planned retirement at 61.

Carl decides to sell an investment property he owns and make a non-concessional contribution into his super account of $280,000 from the proceeds of the sale in October 2017.

As Carl has exceeded his normal annual non-concessional contributions cap of $100,000, he automatically triggers the bring-forward rules by making this large contribution. As he has triggered a bring-forward arrangement, Carl can make a further non-concessional contribution of up to $20,000 in 2018/2019 or 2019/2020 if he wishes to use up his full $300,000 three-year cap.

In 2020/2021, Carl’s non-concessional contributions cap will reset, and he can make further non-concessional contributions up to the normal annual contributions cap.

Table: Contribution and bring forward available to members under 65*

Total superannuation balance^ Contribution and bring forward available
Less than $1.4 million Access to $300,000 cap (over three years)
Greater than or equal to $1.4 million and less than $1.5 million Access to $200,000 cap (over two years)
Greater than or equal to $1.5 million and less than $1.6 million Access to $100,000 cap (no bring-forward period, general non-concessional contributions cap applies)
Greater than or equal to $1.6 million Nil

*Source: ATO

^The total superannuation balance is determined on 30 June of the previous financial year.

For full details on NCC and the bring forward rule, please visit the ATO website.

What are the benefits?

Using the bring-forward rule can be handy if you receive a financial windfall such as an inheritance or sell a large asset and would like to contribute an amount into your super account over your annual non-concessional (after-tax) contributions cap.

Other things to consider

  • Your total superannuation balance must be less than $1.6 million on 30 June of the previous financial year to the one in which you want to make the contribution.
  • To access a bring-forward arrangement under the current rules, you need to be aged under 65 for one day during the triggering year (the first year you make the contribution).
  • Excess concessional (before-tax) contributions during the financial year made by you or your employer are counted toward your non-concessional (after-tax) contributions cap.
  • Once you trigger a bring-forward arrangement in a particular year, any change to the non-concessional contributions cap during the following three-year period will not apply to you, so you are unable to take advantage of any increase (or decrease) in the contributions cap.


If you have any questions or require assistance, please call our Member Care Team on 1300 360 907 or email us at

General Disclaimer – The content of this article includes advice that is general in nature and does not consider your personal situation. Christian Super encourages all people considering their options in retirement planning to seek out qualified professionals who can provide specific personal advice.