<i>Illustration: Simon Letch</i>

Illustration: Simon Letch

I am 62 and have shares worth $180,000. If I retire before 65, sell all the shares and contribute the proceeds to super, can I claim that as a tax-deductible contribution? Do I need to pay capital-gains tax from the proceeds?

The amount you can claim as a tax deduction is limited and may well be just $25,000 a year when you retire. Also, in most cases you cannot claim a tax deduction for your own contributions if an employer is paying super for you. You will certainly have to pay capital gains tax if there is a capital profit, but the beauty of shares is that you can sell them in small parcels to minimise any tax. You may find it is simpler to draw down on the shares after you retire.

I am 64, self-employed, bringing in $30,000 a year. My wife is 60, working part-time, earning a similar figure, and will probably stop working soon. I have $300,000 in a superannuation pension fund paying the minimum and $150,000 in a super fund. My wife has $140,000 in a super pension fund paying the minimum and $20,000 in another super fund. I've been advised to move some or all of my assets (super) into one of my wife's accounts for Centrelink purposes before I turn 65. My thinking is to close my pension fund and move the full amount into one of my wife's accounts. Can I move the money to her pension fund, and what do I gain by keeping the $150,000 in super? Should I move it to a term deposit to give me access to cash? Apart from our house, which has no mortgage, we have minimal assets.

Your wife's pensionable age is 65, so moving super to her name will shelter it from Centrelink until she attains that age. You cannot transfer your super to her account but once you reach 65 you can withdraw as much as you wish tax free and gift it to her. She could then contribute that money to her own super account up to her relevant after-tax (non-concessional) cap. If you wish to withdraw before age 65 you will need to trigger a ''condition of release'', which means resigning from a job. There is no hurry to do anything before you're 65 because gifts between spouses do not count as deprived assets for Centrelink purposes. You should have sufficient liquidity while you are working. Once you stop you will have access to your super.

I am 56 and retired on a $50,000-a-year indexed pension plus $310,000 in super. My wife is 51, not working and has $300,000 in term deposits and $30,000 in super. We own our home and will be selling a joint investment property with a capital gain of $75,000 each. To reduce capital gains tax (CGT) is it possible to make a concessional contribution to our super, which this financial year is a maximum of $50,000. Does this mean we would pay CGT on the remaining $25,000 each?

CGT is calculated by adding the gain, after adjustment, to your taxable income in the year the sales contract is signed. A tax-deductible contribution of $50,000 each would mean the effective amount that could be added to your income in that financial year would be $25,000. Take advice to ensure you are eligible to claim a tax deduction and make sure you do not exceed the concessional (pre-tax) contribution cap, which is $50,000 for the 2011-12 financial year. In the absence of any amending legislation the $25,000 cap will apply to everyone from July 1.

I am 44, living overseas, and do not see myself returning to Australia soon, if at all. I have $180,000 in superannuation and would prefer to manage the money myself as I live in a tax-free country with more choice internationally on how my money is invested. Can I get my superannuation money released or invest in a trust that invests 100 per cent in overseas cash and shares?

Under the current rules you cannot withdraw the funds until you reach your preservation age - 60 for anybody born after July 1, 1964 - and then declare retirement or reach age 65. However, provided your super fund has the appropriate option available, you could invest in an international fund of your choice within the fund. If your present fund does not offer this option you are free to roll your funds into another Australian-based superannuation fund that does.

My husband and I bought a house five years ago for $310,000. Its estimated current value is $350,000 with a mortgage of $150,000. We lived in the house for four years and have rented it for one year. Current rent is $390 a week. We live with our parents until we decide on our next step. We would like to live closer to work but this may have implications, such as stamp duty on the next purchase and capital gains if we sell the property we own. Would it be best to move back into the house to allow us to save on rent and possibly not have to pay capital gains tax when we sell? We are in our early 30s and thinking of starting a family soon.

Provided you are not claiming any other property as principal place of residence, you can be absent from this property for up to six years without losing the CGT exemption. You have five years to make a decision about moving back into it or selling it.

Advice is general; readers should seek their own professional advice.

Contact noel.whittaker@whittaker macnaught.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @noelwhittaker. Questions to: Ask Noel, Money, GPO Box 2571, Qld, 4000, or see moneymanager.com.au /ask-an-expert.