Salary Packaging: Understanding the Basics and Key Considerations

Superannuation Pensions - Blueprint Wealth Perth

Salary packaging, also known as salary sacrifice or salary packaging arrangements, is a beneficial remuneration method that allows employees to structure their income by receiving a portion of their salary in the form of non-cash benefits. This arrangement can provide financial advantages and tax savings for employees, while also offering potential benefits for employers.

What is Salary Packaging?

Salary packaging involves an agreement between an employer and an employee to divert a portion of the employees pre-tax salary towards selected benefits or items.

The employees gross income is reduced by the packaged amount, resulting in lower taxable income. The employee then receives the selected benefits or items in addition to their reduced salary.

Commonly Packaged Benefits:

  1. Motor Vehicles: Employees may opt to package a car lease, novated lease, or car expenses, which can include fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs.
  2. Superannuation: Employees can choose to increase their superannuation contributions through salary packaging, thereby boosting their retirement savings.
  3. Expense Reimbursements: Certain work-related expenses such as professional memberships, home office expenses, or tools of trade can be packaged, resulting in potential tax savings.
  4. Remote Area Benefits: Employees working in remote areas may be eligible for salary packaging benefits, including accommodation, utilities, and meal expenses.
  5. Health and Lifestyle: Salary packaging can extend to health insurance premiums, gym memberships, childcare fees, and other eligible expenses.

Benefits of Salary Packaging:

  1. Tax Savings: One of the primary advantages of salary packaging is the potential for tax savings. By sacrificing a portion of their pre-tax salary towards benefits, employees can effectively reduce their taxable income, resulting in lower overall tax liabilities.
  2. Increased Take-Home Pay: Salary packaging allows employees to structure their income in a way that maximises their take-home pay. By diverting funds towards non-cash benefits, employees can potentially boost their disposable income.
  3. Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) Exemptions: Certain benefits, such as work-related items or portable electronic devices primarily used for work purposes, may be exempt from FBT, providing additional financial benefits for both employees and employers.
  4. Customised Employee Packages: Salary packaging offers flexibility, allowing employees to tailor their benefits to suit their individual needs and circumstances. This personalization can enhance employee satisfaction and retention.

Considerations and Limitations:

  1. Eligibility and Limits: Not all employees may be eligible for salary packaging, and there may be limits on the amount that can be packaged for certain benefits. It is crucial to understand the specific requirements and constraints set by the employer and the relevant tax regulations.
  2. Impact on Superannuation and Other Entitlements: Salary packaging can affect calculations for superannuation contributions, leave accruals, and other entitlements. It is essential to consider the potential implications on long-term savings and benefits.
  3. Financial Planning and Budgeting: Employees should carefully assess their financial situation and long-term goals before entering into a salary packaging arrangement. Seeking advice from financial professionals can ensure that the chosen benefits align with individual circumstances.
  4.  Changes in Personal Circumstances: Its important to consider how changes in personal circumstances, such as a change in employment or financial needs, may impact the viability and effectiveness of salary packaging arrangements.

Salary packaging offers an attractive way for employees to structure their income, potentially resulting in tax savings and increased take-home pay. By understanding the basics of salary packaging and considering individual circumstances, employees can make informed decisions about the benefits they choose to package.

Blueprint Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 78 097 264 554, trading as Blueprint Wealth is an authorised representative and credit representative of AMP Financial Planning Australian Financial Services Licensee and Australian Credit Licensee

This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. If you decide to purchase or vary a financial product, your financial adviser, AMP Financial Planning and other companies within the AMP Group may receive fees and other benefits. The fees will be a dollar amount and/or a percentage of either the premium you pay or the value of your investment. Please contact us if you want more information.