As of July 1 2014, there have been some changes to the concessional superannuation contributions cap, which is welcome news to the over 55's.

The higher $35,000 concessional superannuation contributions cap, which was previously only available to people over the age of sixty, has now been extended to anyone over the age of fifty. This means that the taxation benefits of the transition-to-retirement scheme just got a little bit more enticing!

The transition to retirement scheme allows Australians over the age of 55 to begin drawing a pension from their superannuation, regardless of whether or not they have changed their working arrangements. The scheme is designed to allow people to slowly ease into retirement, without suffering a decrease in their weekly income.

However, financially savvy over 55's can do extremely well out of this situation if they continue to work the same hours that they were before their superannuation became available to them.

By salary sacrificing the full concessional contributions cap (up to $35,000) and replacing the lost portion of income with a pension paid from your superannuation fund, you can make some impressive savings on your tax bill.

For Australians under 60, this superannuation pension is taxed at a concessional rate, and for those over 60 it is completely tax-free. People under the age of sixty should sit down with their accountant or financial planner to calculate the exact amount that they should draw from their super to maximise tax savings.

Not all super funds offer transition to retirement, so if you are interested in taking advantage of this scheme you should check to see if your fund is participating. If you are a member of an SMSF (Self Managed Super Fund), you will need to confirm that your fund's deed allows for transition to retirement pensions.

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