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Frequently asked questions - First Home Saver Account

Who can have a First Home Saver Account?
Is a First Home Saver Account right for me?
What qualifies as owning a home?
What is a home?
Can I open a joint account?
How can I use the money in my First Home Saver Account?
What if your home purchase falls through?
How do I save with a First Home Saver Account?
How does the Government help me save?
How does Teachers Mutual Bank help me save?
What if my situation changes?
What if I’m having trouble saving?
What if I move overseas?
Can I live in a home I already own?
What if I experience financial hardship?
How can I withdraw my savings?
How long do I need to live in my first home?


Who can have a First Home Saver Account?

To open an account, you must:

  • be aged 18 or over and under 65 years old
  • have a tax file number (if you do not wish to lodge a tax file number, you cannot hold a First Home Saver Account)
  • have never owned a home in Australia that you have lived in, and
  • have never opened a First Home Saver Account previously.

Is a First Home Saver Account right for me?

You should consider opening a First Home Saver Account if you:

  • want to use your funds to buy or build your first home in Australia to live in, and
  • be able to save at least $1,000 a year in four separate financial years.

What qualifies as owning a home?

To open a First Home Saver Account, you need to be planning to buy or build a home in Australia1 to live in - either on your own or jointly. You must not have previously owned (either on your own or jointly) a home in Australia that you have lived in.

1Australia includes Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.


What is a home?

A home is a dwelling that is your main residence. A dwelling is a unit of accommodation that is fixed to the land, such as a house, flat, unit, townhouse or other building suitable for occupation as a residence.

Boats, caravans, mobile homes, demountable homes and transportable homes are not dwellings unless both of the following apply:

  • they are suitable for occupation as a residence, and
  • they are fixed to land you own.

Can I open a joint account?

No – First Home Saver Accounts are only able to be opened in individual names. For couples:

  • each person must open their own individual First Home Saver Account, then 
  • each person can receive the benefits of having a First Home Saver Account.

How can I use the money in my First Home Saver Account?

The money in your First Home Saver Account can be used to:

  • buy your first home
  • be added to your superannuation, and 
  • be withdrawn as a lump sum if you’re aged 60 or over.

What if your home purchase falls through?

If your home purchase falls through, you can open a new First Home Saver Account and re-contribute the funds you withdrew, providing you do so within six months of closing your old account. You can contribute less to your new account than the full amount you withdrew from your old account, providing both of the following apply:

  • The sale fell through for reasons that were beyond your control and were not reasonably foreseeable.
  • You spent some of the funds you withdrew in the course of buying or building your first home before the sale fell through - for example, on legal fees, council fees, building inspection costs or seeking finance approval - and, as soon as practicable after the sale fell through, you re-contribute the funds you did not spend to your new account.


You will not be penalised for having failed to buy or build a home in these circumstances.


How do I save with a First Home Saver Account?

  • Deposits can be made into a First Home Saver Account in the same way you’d deposit to an ordinary savings account. This can be done at any time, and for as long as is needed to save the deposit.
  • Salary sacrifice is not permitted.
  • Money is not required to be deposited every year, but the Government contribution will only be allocated in the year/s the funds are deposited.
  • Once the total amount reaches $90,000 – including Government contributions and income from investment earnings – no further funds can be deposited to the account.
  • The account can be maintained until your first home is bought, or until you turn 65.
  • When you reach the age of 65, the account must be closed and the funds withdrawn or moved to superannuation.

How does the Government help me save?

  • For every $1 that is deposited into the account, the Government contributes 17 cents.
  • Deposits up to a total of $6,000 per financial year receive the Government contribution. Any deposits over this limit will not. For example, if $6,000 is deposited in one financial year, the Government will contribute $1,020 to the account.
  • Government contributions are paid directly into your First Home Saver Account after you lodge your tax return and the provider has advised the Australian Taxation Office how much you have contributed.
  • You are not taxed on the money deposited to your account, on the Government contributions or when you withdraw your savings for your home.
  • The income earned on the savings is taxed at 15%.

How does Teachers Mutual Bank help me save?

  • By applying a competitive variable interest rate.
  • By crediting interest monthly.
  • By debiting the 15% tax on interest earnings directly from the account.

What if my situation changes?

If you decide not to purchase your first home, you can:

  • move your savings into superannuation or
  • withdraw the savings as a lump sum if you are aged 60 or over.


If you want to buy your first home before you have deposited $1,000 into your account in 4 separate financial years:

  • you cannot use the savings in the First Home Saver Account if you are buying the first home on your own, and 
  • you can only use the savings in the First Home Saver Account if you are buying your first home with someone else who has met the criteria.

What if I’m having trouble saving?

If you have opened a First Home Saver Account and started saving, but find yourself in a position where you do not have any money to deposit into the account, you can choose to:

  • start saving again when you have funds available
  • move your savings into superannuation, or 
  • withdraw your savings as a lump sum if you are aged 60 or over.


If you haven’t deposited $1,000 into your account in 4 separate financial years and want to close your account, you can choose to:

  • move your savings into superannuation, or
  • withdraw the savings as a lump sum if you are aged 60 or over.

What if I move overseas?

You can keep your account open, and continue to deposit money in to the account, but you won’t receive any Government contributions if you are overseas for an entire financial year.


Can I live in a home I already own?

If you start living in a home you own (previous investment property) you are no longer eligible to have a First Home Saver Account. You must advise Teachers Mutual Bank and close your account within 30 days or have penalties imposed. When you close your account you can either:

  • move your savings into superannuation, or
  • withdraw the savings as a lump sum if you are aged 60 or over.

What if I experience financial hardship?

If you experience financial hardship, you can:

  • move your savings into superannuation, and
  • after moving your savings, you may apply to access the superannuation under the early release provisions. These include severe financial hardship, permanent disability or on specified compassionate grounds.

How can I withdraw my savings?

  • Savings can only be withdrawn after depositing a minimum of $1,000 a year into the account in 4 separate financial years.
  • If you are buying your first home with other people that have a First Home Saver Account, the savings can be withdrawn from each account if just one person has deposited the $1,000 in their account in 4 separate financial years.
  • When you are ready to use your First Home Saver Account savings, apply to Teachers Mutual Bank to withdraw your funds and close your account.

How long do I need to live in my first home?

  • you must live in your first home for at least 6 months within 12 months of settlement, or
  • on completion of building construction.

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