The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Helen Coonan

Helen Coonan

Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer

26 November 2001 - 17 July 2004

Media Release of 27/05/2004


27 May 2004


The Government will expand the potential beneficiaries of tax-free superannuation death benefits to include ‘interdependent’ relationships, the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, Senator Helen Coonan, announced today.

“This is a family friendly proposal which recognises that adult family members who reside together and offer each other mutual support may not receive the same treatment as spouses or dependent children upon the death of a partner or family member,” Senator Coonan said.

“Tax-free superannuation death benefits can currently be paid to spouses, children under 18 and those who can establish financial dependency on the deceased (for example, children over 18 who are dependent and remain at home).

“There has been some concern that some interdependent adult relationships may not fall within the current definition of financial dependency

“This measure will provide members of interdependent relationships with greater certainty over the payment of superannuation death benefits.

“An interdependent relationship is one of continuing mutual commitment to financial and emotional support between two people who reside together.

“The definition will also include a person with a disability who may live in an institution but is nevertheless interdependent with the deceased.

“For example, two elderly sisters who reside together and are interdependent will be able to receive each other’s superannuation benefits tax free.

“Similarly, an adult child who resides with and cares for an elderly parent will be eligible for tax-free superannuation benefits upon the death of the parent.

“In addition, same-sex couples who reside together and are interdependent but who may not be recognised under the current rules will be eligible to receive superannuation benefits tax free upon the death of their partner.”

Eds Note: See separate release from Minister Ruddock in relation to amendments to the Marriage and Family Law Act.