In order to contribute to an SMSF, a Member over a certain age might have to meet the work test. An age restriction does not apply to your SMSF accepting mandated employer contributions.

For a contribution to be made to your SMSF when the Members are over 75 years old on 1 July 2022, they will need to meet the requirements for the work test, which requires the Member to be gainfully employed.

Being gainfully employed means working for at least 40 hours during a consecutive 30-day period. This test has to be met each financial year in order to make contributions (both concessional and non-concessional) into your SMSF. Unpaid work is not considered as being “gainfully employed”.

Work Test Exemption

From 1 July 2019, Members with a low superannuation balance  will be able to make voluntary contributions if they met the Work Test in the previous financial year. The conditions are outlined below:

  • The Member satisfied the Work Test in the previous financial year.
  • The Member had a total Superannuation balance of less than $300,000 at the end of the previous financial year.
  • No non-concessional contributions have been made under the Work Test Exemption in the previous financial year.

The Work Test Exemption was authorised in the 2021 Federal Budget. To access the 2021 Budget, please click on the button below:

Other considerations when utilising the Work Test Exemption:

  • Total Superannuation balances will be assessed for eligibility at the start of the financial year following the year in which they last met the Work Test.
  • Once the Work Test Exemption criteria are met, the Member balance in Super must be under $300,000 at the start of the financial year but it’s okay to go over during the year. Meanwhile, the existing annual concessional and non-concessional caps ($27,500 and $110,000 respectively) will continue to apply.
  • Once the Work Test Exemption criteria are met, the bring-forward rule for non-concessional contributions can be utilised.
  • The Work Test Exemption is also used in conjunction with the new rolling 5-year carry forward of unused concessional contribution cap space subject to the relevant conditions being satisfied.


Nichole (69 years old) retires from full-time work on 1 June 2021. Her total superannuation balance is $150,000 at the end of the 2020-21 financial year. Nichole had not reached her concessional contribution cap over the past 2 years, having contributed only $18,000 in 2019-20 and $12,000 in 2020-21.

Does Nichole meet the Work Test in the 2021-22 financial year?No
Does Nichole meet the Work Test Exemption in the 2021-22 financial year?Yes
Is Nichole eligible to make contributions under Work Test Exemption in the 21-22 FY?Yes
Under the existing carry forward arrangements and new Work Test Exemption, how much concessional contribution can Nichole make?Up to $47,5,000

($27,500 +$25,000*2-$18,000-$12000)

How much non-concessional contribution can Nichole make as a result of Work Test Exemption?Up to $110,000

This simplified version of Work Test rules is effective from 1 July 2019. Members of an SMSF can use the templates provided below to assist with informing any relevant party that they have met the work test requirements.

For further guidance on the work test provisions, please see here for ATO guidance.

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