Salary sacrifice agreements have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they allow employees to increase their take-home pay while reducing their taxable income. These agreements involve an employee agreeing to give up a portion of their pre-tax salary in exchange for non-cash benefits such as additional superannuation contributions, car leasing, or extra leave entitlements.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has set out guidelines for salary sacrifice arrangements to ensure they comply with tax laws. Under these guidelines, the salary sacrifice arrangement must be agreed upon between the employer and the employee before the start of the salary period in which it will take effect. The agreement must also be in writing, outlining the terms and conditions of the arrangement.
It`s important to note that not all benefits can be salary sacrificed. For example, the ATO notes that salary sacrifice arrangements cannot be used for amounts paid to an employee`s spouse, children or other relatives. Additionally, the amount that can be salary sacrificed is subject to limits, depending on the type of benefit being sacrificed.
One of the most popular benefits that employees choose to salary sacrifice is additional superannuation contributions. By sacrificing a portion of their salary, employees can boost their retirement savings while reducing their taxable income. However, it`s important to understand that this type of salary sacrifice can impact other entitlements such as government benefits and insurance policies.
Car leasing is another popular benefit that can be salary sacrificed. By leasing a car through their employer, employees can access more affordable rates due to the purchasing power of the organisation. Additionally, the cost of the lease payments can be deducted from pre-tax income, reducing taxable income and increasing take-home pay.
Extra leave entitlements, such as additional annual or long-service leave, can also be provided through salary sacrifice arrangements. This can be particularly beneficial for employees who want additional time off work but may not have enough annual leave accrued.
There are many benefits to salary sacrifice arrangements, but there are also some risks to consider. It`s important to understand the terms of the agreement and how it may impact other entitlements and benefits. Consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional can help employees make the most informed decision.
Overall, salary sacrifice arrangements can be a valuable tool for employees looking to maximise their take-home pay and benefits. By working with their employer to establish an agreement that complies with ATO guidelines, employees can take advantage of a range of benefits that would not otherwise be available to them.