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CPF Annual Limit and voluntary contributions.

Monday, August 18, 2014

An exchange of comments with readers on my FB wall highlighted something that could be overlooked by some. Credit goes to Pero for the reminder.

In March this year, I shared a screen shot in my blog:


Why did I voluntarily contribute $4,000 and not much more?

Reason:

The maximum amount of CPF contributions, including mandatory contributions your employer pays on your behalf, is $26,393.
 

The maximum amount of voluntary contributions a person (employee or self-employed) can make in one calendar year is subject to the CPF Annual Limit. All CPF contributions, whether mandatory or voluntary, will form part of the CPF Annual Limit.

From 2011, the CPF Annual Limit is $30,600.

No further voluntary contributions can be made if the mandatory and voluntary contributions have already reached the CPF Annual Limit of $30,600. (From 2015, the limit is $31,450.)

Source: CPF

Maximum amount of VC for now = $30,600 – Mandatory Contributions

Mandatory contributions are compulsory contributions required under the CPF Act and include our own monthly contributions from earned income.


Use this calculator for VC:
https://www.cpf.gov.sg/eSvc/Web/Miscellaneous/ContributionAllocation/ContributionAllocationCalculator



----------------
2016 Update:
CPF Annual Limit is now $37,740, up from $31,450 last year.


Related posts:
1. Securing risk free returns early for retirement.
2. National Day Rally 2014: Retirement adequacy.

23 comments:

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

AK,

I have a colleague who parrots what he read in cyberspace - that CPF is a ponzi scheme and big daddy is running out of money; therefore the need to increase the minimum sum to avoid paying out CPF to members...

I asked if I am running a ponzi scheme, why do I want to put a salary cap on CPF contributions?

And why do I want to limit voluntary CPF contributions?

You could have heard a pin drop.

Ding! Ding, ding, din...

AK71 said...

Hi SMOL,

I know. That is my same line of reasoning whenever people tell me that the CPF is a national PONZI scheme.

I am constantly amazed by not ignorance but the laziness of some people. Just use a little bit of effort to think logically and they should be able to see the light but they choose to wallow in self pity and to soak in a bath of suspicion. -.-"

betta man said...

So it is better to make a VC at the start of the year when the accumulated mandatory contribution is still low ?

AK71 said...

Hi betta man,

Well, there really is no difference, I feel.

In the course of the year, your mandatory contributions would get rejected if you voluntarily contributed $30,600 on the 2nd of January, for example, because your CPF Annual Limit would have been hit. ;)

hydrogenperoxide said...

actually got difference AK..
your earlier contribution would start earning interest from Jan, instead of throughout the year.. :P

AK71 said...

Hi pero,

Hahaha... Yes, there is that and my friends and I talked about it before but the trouble it would cause our HR departments might not be worth it and, of course, it could generate gossip at work. ;p

I remember that one year when I voluntarily contributed too much, the accountant's face black black and asked why I gave her extra work to do. -.-"

betta man said...

If the mandatory contributions from work is rejected, Where would those monies go to ?

Steven said...

how to see the annual limit?

Steven said...

i mean how to see current contributed total?

AK71 said...

Hi betta man,

Well, in my case, the money went back to my employer and that caused some confusion for the accountant. And she wasn't happy she had to issue a cheque just for me. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi Steven,

You could log into your CPF account to take a look at your CPF contributions in 2014 so far:
My CPF.

You will need your SingPass, of course. :)

pf said...

Just to double check here....

cpf min sum top up doesn't count as VC hor?

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

I believe you are right although it is not a question I have considered before.

The CPF Annual Limit applies to VC made to all 3 accounts (OA, SA and MA) and also VC to the MA only.

The CPF Minimum Sum Top Up scheme seems to be separately considered.

AK71 said...

This is very clear:

What is Voluntary Contribution?

A person may choose to voluntarily contribute to all three of his CPF accounts, or just to his Medisave.

The maximum amount of Voluntary Contribution (VC) is the difference between the CPF Annual Limit (currently $30,600) and the amount of mandatory contributions (MC) made within the year:

Maximum amount of VC = $30,600 – MC

The maximum amount of contribution to one’s Medisave is subject to the CPF Annual Limit or the Medisave Contribution Ceiling (currently $41,000), whichever is lower.

What is the Minimum Sum Topping Up Scheme?

The MSTU Scheme is to allow CPF members to top up their own or their family members’ Special Account or Retirement Account (if the recipient is 55 years and older) mainly for retirement purposes.

If the top up is made in cash, the CPF member can also enjoy up to $7,000 of tax relief a year for topping up his own account, and up to an additional $7,000 of tax relief a year for topping up eligible family members.

The maximum amount of top up that can be done is as follows:

Maximum amount of top up = Prevailing Minimum Sum (currently $139,000) – Total balances of OA and SA – CPF withdrawn for investments

Source:
Topping Up CPF.

edwin said...

Hi AK,

This is interesting, over so many years i never had the idea of topping up my CPF to get interest and at the same time lower the Income Tax i suppose. I guess now to reduce the Income Tax i have to fork up per year, i rather throw some into my account and my wife account if she hasn't hit the maximum contribution limit. Am i interpreting correctly?

AK71 said...

Hi Edwin,

Minimum sum top up using cash is eligible for income tax relief. What you need to know is found here: Minimum Sum Top Up.

"You can also enjoy tax relief of up to $7,000 per calendar year, if you or your employer uses cash to make top-ups for you. Your employer will receive an equal amount of tax deduction for the cash top-ups made.

"You can enjoy an additional tax relief of up to $7,000 per calendar year if you use cash to make top-ups for your loved ones. To qualify for tax relief for cash top-ups for spouse/siblings, your spouse/sibling (i) must not have income exceeding $4,000 in the year preceding the year of top-up (e.g. salary or tax exempt income such as bank interest, dividends and pension) or (ii) is handicapped."

pf said...

Thanks, AK. :)

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

You are welcome. :)

It is a good exercise for me too. Cleared the confusion I had with the wordings. ;p

Zax Yeo said...

CPF FAQ for MSTU does not include OA for limit.

http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/CPF/Templates/SubPage_Template.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRORIGINALURL=%2fMembers%2fGen-Info%2fFAQ%2fMinimumSum%2ehtm&NRNODEGUID=%7b478CB45C-3BBD-4E0C-8C90-76EA8E8B78BB%7d&NRCACHEHINT=Guest#MSTUTopUp

Amount that recipient can receive
in his SA
Current MS – Net SA balance –
Amount withdrawn from SA under
CPFIS

Someone please check that I did not understand wrongly.

AK71 said...

Hi Zax,

The MSTU is different from VCs to CPF. The CPF Annual Limit applies only to the latter.

VCs to OA, SA and MA + mandatory contributions should not exceed the CPF Annual Limit.

However, for MSTU:

Maximum amount of top up = Prevailing Minimum Sum – Total balances of OA and SA – CPF withdrawn for investments

If it is to be by cash, the max is $7,000 a year or an amount shown using above formula, whichever is lower.

JK Holdings said...

Quick update from me again, I just called CPF Call Centre
1800-227-1188 this morning, the lady is so out-spoken and charming in the phone and answered all my enquiries with crystal clear answers. CPF employee really did a great job in call center. I should get her name to compliment her !

(1) Do not mix up the S$7K SA top up (tax relief) to Voluntary Contribution (VC), it got nothing to do with that.

(2) You cannot enjoy the S$7K tax relief once your SA hit the Minimum Sum. (this is new to me !)

(3) Mandatory contributions (MC) made within the year: Maximum amount of VC = $30,600 – MC
This is exactly what we are talking about, usually $1800 per month x 13 months = S$23,400 so, you can contribute S$7K into any CPF account per year but there is no benefits of doing so, unless you just purely want higher interest in CPF , that is why this is not in my radar as there is no "motivation - benefits" for me to do so.

(4) Big important question, where is your money goes once your MA hit the cap of S$48,500, the answer is it goes to your SA account !!!! BUT, if your CPF had hit the Minimum Sum, then, your extra MA will go into OA account. So typically, people won't hit the MS so fast, so, answer all of our doubt the extra MA will go into SA account FIRST !!

Who say call centre always blur don't know the answer? They are so professional in answering real life example... Very satisfied with their answer today. :)

AK71 said...

Hi JK,

Thank you so much for sharing your findings with us. Much appreciated! :D

AK71 said...

A regular voluntary contribution would see the money going into OA, SA and MA. If the MA is maxed out, then, only the OA and SA (even if the SA has hit the MS/FRS).

Note that voluntary contribution is only allowed if the mandatory contribution (if any) does not hit the annual contribution limit. Such a voluntary contribution also does not receive any income tax relief.

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