SMSF Administration, SMSF Property, SMSF Crypto/ Gold services

Our Blog

Contribution Reserving in SMSFs

Contribution Reserving My SMSF 2024

Contribution Reserving in SMSFs: An Educational Guide for SMSF Members

Contribution reserving is a strategy used in self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) to manage the timing of contributions for tax and contribution cap purposes. This article explains how this strategy works, its benefits, and potential risks.

How Contribution Reserving Works

Basic Mechanism

  1. Contribution Made: A member or their employer makes a contribution to the SMSF, usually in June of a financial year.
  2. Holding in Reserve: The contribution is held in a contribution reserve account or an unallocated suspense account until the next financial year.
  3. Allocation to Member Account: The SMSF trustee allocates the contribution to the member’s accumulation account within 28 days from the start of the following financial year, in accordance with regulation 7.08 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SISR94).

Reporting and Tax Implications

  • Tax Deduction: The contribution is deductible in the year it is made, assuming the relevant requirements in Division 290 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) are met.
  • Assessable Income: The contribution is included in the assessable income of the fund in the year it is received by the fund.
  • Contribution Caps: The contribution counts towards the concessional contributions cap in the year it is allocated to the member’s account, not the year it is received by the fund.

Compliance Requirements

  • Trust Deed Provisions: The SMSF trust deed must include provisions that allow for contribution reserving.
  • Documentation: Proper documentation, including trustee resolutions and notices of intent to claim a tax deduction, must be maintained to support the strategy.
  • Notification to ATO: The SMSF must notify the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of the contribution and its allocation timing.

Potential Benefits

Contribution reserving can provide several benefits, including:

  • Tax Efficiency: Maximizing tax deductions by aligning contributions with taxable income.
  • Contribution Cap Management: Avoiding breaching concessional contribution caps by spreading contributions across two financial years.

Potential Risks and Downsides

While contribution reserving offers benefits, it also involves certain risks and downsides:

  • Complexity and Compliance: The strategy requires meticulous documentation and adherence to regulations.
  • Tax Timing Risks: Mismanagement of timing can lead to unintended tax consequences or breaches of contribution caps.
  • ATO Scrutiny: The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) may scrutinize the strategy, and the SMSF must be prepared to provide the necessary documentation to support it.
  • Limited Upside: The strategy provides a one-time timing advantage, with ongoing benefits being marginal.

Example Scenario

Let’s consider an example to illustrate how contribution reserving works in practice.

Example: John’s SMSF Contribution Reserving

Financial Year 2023

  • John makes a $25,000 concessional contribution in June 2023.
  • The contribution is held in reserve at the end of FY2023.

Financial Year 2024

  • In July 2023, the SMSF trustee allocates the $25,000 contribution to John’s account.
  • This allocation counts towards John’s concessional contribution cap for FY2024.

Charts and Tables

Table: Contribution Reserving Timeline

ActionDateFinancial YearContribution Cap Impact
Contribution MadeJune 20232023No impact
Contribution ReservedEnd of FY20232023No impact
Contribution AllocatedJuly 20232024Counts towards FY2024 cap

Compliance and Documentation

To ensure proper compliance with contribution reserving:

  • Maintain Proper Documentation: This includes trustee resolutions and notices of intent to claim tax deductions.
  • Update Trust Deed: Ensure your SMSF trust deed permits contribution reserving.
  • Notify the ATO: Inform the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of the contribution and its allocation timing.

For further guidance, you can refer to the ATO’s detailed form and instructions:

TimingScenarioAction & Benefit
End of JuneMaximize deductions without cap breachContribute in June, allocate in July. Balance tax over two financial years.
Start of JulyDefer contributions for tax managementAllocate June’s contributions to manage next year’s tax effectively.
Significant Income EventHigh-income events (e.g., bonus)Employ reserving at fiscal year-end to manage tax burden across years.
Approaching RetirementMaximize retirement savingsUse strategy at year-end to maximize savings and manage caps.
Fluctuating Income LevelsVariable incomeLevel out contributions to minimize tax in high income years.


Contribution reserving can be an effective strategy for managing SMSF contributions, but it requires careful planning and adherence to compliance requirements. Clients should be fully aware of the benefits and risks involved and consult with their advisers to ensure the strategy aligns with their financial goals and circumstances.

Always seek financial advice on these arrangements.


Contact My SMSF – Contact Us | SMSF Setup, SMSF Accounting and SMSF Loans (

ATO SMSF Contributions-  ATO Contribution Reserving