As of 1 January 2015, the normal deeming rules were extended to superannuation account based income streams. This means that all financial assets are assessed under the same rules.
Account based income streams (a typical SMSF pension) held by pensioners prior to 1 January 2015 will continue to be assessed under the existing rules unless the pensioner chooses to change products or buy new products from 1 January 2015.
Effective since 1 January 2015, new age pensioners or existing age pensioners with new superannuation pensions will also have their superannuation pension assets subject to the deeming rates for the purposes of the age pension income test.
Effective 20 March 2015, the deeming rates applied to financial investments are:
- 75% up to certain value of financial investments and then
- 25% for any financial investments above the lower rate threshold.
These deeming rates are adjusted periodically and can rise and fall depending on the investment markets and changes in geared interest rates, and what the government decides to do. These rates are not amended as often as interest rates. The current rate change was effective 20 March 2015 and prior to then it was last changed on 4th November 2013.
Since 1 July 2015, the lower asset value threshold was $48,600 for singles and $80,600 for couples.
The asset value thresholds are subject to change at 1 July each year. The government has announced their intention to reset these thresholds at 1 July 2017 to $30k (singles) and $50k (couples) – however this is still subject to legislation.