It has long been an accepted standard that the auditor of an SMSF needs to be independent of that fund, and be a third party entity to the SMSF.
This requirement is written into the relevant legislation. There have of course been breaches of this requirement, and instances where auditors and/or fund trustees have suffered administrative penalties or even disqualification for non-compliance in this area.
While the ATO has lately been focusing on the rollout of stimulus measures, it has also flagged that audit work is not off the table completely.
In late July, when the ATO fronted a parliamentary Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, its representative said plans were to start tax audits sometime between September and October 2020. Time and efforts however were diverted to the rollout of the JobKeeper scheme and other stimulus measures, with the ATO sourcing staff for this work by redeploying people from initiating audits, saying it had been a “conscious choice” not to initiate new audits during the peak of the pandemic.
A bill has been introduced into Parliament that partially implements a measure to allow an increase in the maximum number of allowable members in self-managed superannuation funds and small APRA funds from four to six
The Federal Government announced a six-month moratorium on evictions of commercial and residential tenants during the COVID-19 health pandemic. This moratorium (and its accompanying code of conduct leasing principles) will inevitably affect SMSFs, which are reasonably heavily invested in real property, according to statistics.
The ATO, as regulator of self-managed superannuation funds, has reported an increase in the number of SMSF trustees entering into arrangements involving buying and then developing property (either with related or unrelated parties) that is subsequently sold or leased.
The COVID-19 stimulus and relief package also contains measures relating to the instant asset write-off, accelerated depreciation, a cash flow boost for employers, superannuation, stimulus payments to households and much more. Here are more details on each area.
It has been a long time coming, but a planned government amnesty for employers who have missed paying the superannuation guarantee (SG) to their employees has now become law. The amnesty was passed on 6 March 2020, and lasts until 7 September 2020.
When establishing a self managed superannuation fund (SMSF), one central decision to be made early on is if the trustee structure is to consist of individual trustees or a corporate trustee. Between these choices, you can have up to four individual trustees, or one company that acts as trustee (with that incorporated body having up to four directors).
If you own a marine vessel, perhaps a thoroughbred horse or two, have a piece of fine art hanging on a wall, high value motor vehicles in the garage or an aircraft in the shed, it could be time to make sure your tax affairs are in order.
There are very limited circumstances when you can access your superannuation savings earlier than when you meet what the ATO calls a “condition of release” — which for most people generally means achieving a certain age and retiring.
Tax offsets (sometimes referred to as rebates) directly reduce the amount of tax payable on your taxable income. In general, offsets can reduce your tax payable to zero, but on their own they can’t get you a refund.
There are two superannuation-related tax offsets for which you may be eligible. The Australian super income stream tax offset, and a tax offset for super contributions made on behalf of your spouse.
Now and then, taxpayers may find themselves in a situation where they simply have no records to back up a tax claim. There can be many reasons for this, such as losing documents when moving home (either paper or electronic), or technology failures that end up with the same result (or at worst even destroy records).