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The Definitive Guide To the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme

<img src="https://cdn.sanity.io/images/3023m6wi/production/e21564dc99a5b74f9a7160a54d6246dd1501f2de-1200x800.jpg?rect=0,62,1200,675&w=1200&h=675&fit=crop&auto=format" alt="Understanding the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme" />

The Definitive Guide To the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme

Saving for your first home is certainly no easy task, especially as house prices continue to trend upwards. Property prices have been increasing significantly over the last decade or so, leading the government to introduce the FHSS Scheme in the 2017-2018 Federal Budget.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS) is an Australian Government initiative that supports people looking to buy their first home, by reducing the pressure on housing affordability.

What is the FHSS Scheme?

The FHSS Scheme utilises your superannuation, allowing you to save for the deposit on your home within your super itself. Under the FHSS you are able to make either before tax or after-tax contributions to your super, then withdraw them once you are ready to put down some money on a house.

Am I eligible?

Under the FHSSS Australians are able to start making contributions to their super at any age, but to access the funds under the FHSS Scheme you must be 18 years or older. Additional requirements include:

  • The property you are buying, or building must be located in Australia.
  • You must plan to live on the property’s premises as soon as practicable.
  • You intend to live in the property for at least 6 months within the first 12 months you own it, after it becomes practical to move in.
  • You have not used the FHSS Scheme before.
  • This is the first home you are buying.

You may also be eligible for the FHSS Scheme if you are identified as experiencing financial hardship that resulted in loss of ownership of property interest, even if you have previously owned a property. This may include bankruptcy, divorce, illness, loss of employment or being affected by a natural disaster.

Other guidelines for the FHSS Scheme limit the with voluntary contributions in any one financial year to a maximum of $15,000, with a maximum of $50,000 across all years.

This applies per-person, meaning if you are in a couple the maximum that could be withdrawn through the FHSS is $100,000. Along with the money you withdraw, you will also receive an amount of earnings calculated by the ATO.

How do I access my funds under the FHSS Scheme?

You are able to request the release of your funds at the same time you start the home buying process, before you sign a contract of sale. You must have a determination from the ATO which details each of your eligible contributions in the form individually.

Superannuation contributions made by your employer or spouse cannot be released under the FHSS Scheme. If you have already obtained a determination and signed a contract, you must then request a request within 14 days of signing the contract. After you have requested the release, it may take between 15 and 25 days to be processed.

You can only request release of the funds once. If your request is cancelled, you cannot apply again in the future! This is why it is important to make sure that you go through the process properly, and thoroughly.

Before you apply for the FHSS make sure that you are eligible, and that your employer offers salary sacrifice arrangements. Ask your super provider if they will release funds and if there will be any extra costs associated with it.