Ato To Focus On Smsfs

During the conference held last February, Deputy Commissioner of Superannuation James O’Halloran discussed the changes and other plans that the ATO has set out for Self-Managed Superfunds (SMSFs).

The commissioner opened his statement by assuring that the ATO will continue to support SMSFs, not only by providing ongoing certainty and practical support but also by progressively and sensibly seeking to ensure that SMSFs comply with the law.  He reminded SMSF holders that they can now view details of all their super accounts reported through the ATO via the online MyGov site. Included in the information that can be viewed are account balances and insurance indicators, total super balance and the status of bring-forward arrangements relating to non-concessional contributions.

 ATO’s position on SMSF event- based reporting

Mr. O’Halloran confirmed that from 01 July 2018, SMSF event based-reporting (EBR) will be limited to SMSFs that have members with total superannuation account balances with a minimum of $1 million. This means that SMSF members whose total superannuation balance are under $1 million can choose to report events which impact their members transfer balances at the same time that the SMSF lodges its annual return.

On 22 August 2017, Mr O’Halloran said they issued a public position about SMSF event-based reporting.  The feedback highlights concerns about the cost and effort that may be associated with the proposed approach. He stated that the ATO has listened to all the feedback and have decided to provide annual reporting for SMSFs with members that have lower superannuation balances and to permit a quarterly reporting timeframe for other SMSFs. The ATO will continue to evaluate the risks and benefits arising from this change to SMSF event-based reporting.

ATO to monitor persistent non-lodgers

Mr O’Halloran reiterated the importance of SMSF lodgement and said it’s a cornerstone obligation for any trustee in a properly operating SMSF. Even if a SMSF trustee uses a tax agent, trustees themselves are responsible for their SMSF and there is still the requirement to lodge even if the SMSF is in pension phase.

One of the projects for this financial year is to target those SMSFs who have not lodged for some time. The ATO is seeking to reduce the level of long term outstanding lodgements. As identified, some 12,000 SMSFs (linked to 5,000 agents) have never lodged an SMSF annual return or had more than two years of overdue lodgements. Nearly 3,000 agents relating to over 8,600 funds have been contacted to gather reasons and information for the non- lodgement of returns, with a view to secure lodgements or to wind up the fund. The ATO will continue to work on this into the 2018-2019 financial year.

In relation to the 2016/17 lodgement of the SMSF annual return, the ATO has granted a deferral of all SMSF lodgements until 30 June 2018.  This applies to the due date for payment of any relevant 2017 financial year income tax liability. As 30 June 2018 is a Saturday, trustees have until the next business day to lodge a return with an election for transitional GST relief as part of the super changes that came into effect 01 July 2017, or amend a lodged 2016/2017 return in order to include an election if one wasn’t made.

Sources: Australian Taxation Office

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