Superannuation tips for the self employed

Last updated: December 2020 | 2 min read

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It is important to consider your superannuation when you become self-employed. 

If you are a self-employed person, you are not required, by law, to contribute to a super fund. However, you may wish to consider using super as a form of retirement savings and claim tax deductions for these contributions.

If you are considering using super as a form of retirement savings, please check the Super Lookup to ensure your chosen fund is a complying super fund (complies with government regulations).

Things to consider if you are becoming self-employed

Growing your super

Super co-contributions

From 1 July 2007 self-employed people who personally earn business income from running a business as a sole trader, or in partnership, may be eligible for the super co-contribution.

You can only receive the super co-contribution if 10% or more of your total income is from

  • eligible employment,
  • running a business, or
  • a combination of both

Business income includes gross income as a sole trader and partnership distributions but does not include trust distributions

For more information on super co-contributions for self employed see super co-contributions.

Self managed super funds

Deciding to set up and run a self managed super fund (SMSF) is an important decision that you should consider very carefully.

If you choose to establish an SMSF you would manage many of the decisions and obligations around your super yourself.

For more information see does a SMSF suit me?

Employer contributions


An employer may have to make super contributions for contractors paid under a contract that is wholly or principally for labour (that is, physical labour, or mental or artistic effort) even if the contractor quotes an Australian business number.

For more information see super guarantee


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