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Ineligible downsizer contributions and how they are administered

When a downsizer contribution is ineligible, the fund must re-assess the amount in accordance with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 and the trust deed. This is to determine if the amount can be retained as a non-concessional contribution.

Provided the trust deed allows so, the fund can return the contribution to the member or adjust the prior downsizing contributions to nil and report this amount as a non-concessional contribution when the member meets the age and work tests.

When a contribution can’t be returned or returned in full:
Members who no longer have a super interest with the fund, or an insufficient return amount, must have their contribution re-reported as non-concessional, even if the contribution was returned because the member did not meet the age/work tests. Some of the contribution may be an excess non-concessional contribution (ENCC). Regardless of the age of the member, if this is the case the member will receive an ENCC determination or when the fund can’t return the full amount. Members will continue to have access to all review rights under the ENCC scheme. Even if the member is in pension phase, the funds will still need to return an ineligible downsizer contribution if it cannot be accepted.

When a fund receives a release authority:
An amount released under these circumstances is treated as a super lump sum as it is a portion of the member’s super interest. Being in pension phase doesn’t prevent a fund from complying with the release authority although it may mean the full amount can’t be released, as the available balance may be lower than the amount stated in the release authority. Where the member’s available balance is lower than the release authority amount, the fund must release the maximum amount available.

The ATO monitors the rectification of this contribution reporting. Where funds don’t act within legislative timeframes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) may be contacted.

Posted on 12 August '19, under super. No Comments.

Illegal early release of super on ATO watch-list

Illegal early release of super (IER) is one of the risk areas that the ATO has identified as being of most concern and in need of action.

Each year, the ATO analyses its data to identify the areas of high risk that will form part of its compliance program. Aside from illegal early release, another key risk area is non-lodgement. In the last year, the ATO has targeted individuals and promoters who register self-managed super funds with the intention of using the fund to illegally access super benefits.

In the 2019 financial year, the ATO cancelled the registration of 609 newly registered SMSFs who intended to use the funds for IER. They also withheld the details of 352 funds from the Super Fund Lookup, meaning they couldn’t receive payments and rollovers.

The ATO has warned of severe consequences for you and your fund if super is accessed before you are legally entitled to it. These include disqualification of trustees, administrative penalties, the fund deemed as non-complying, or even prosecution.

Fund trustees or members who have knowingly been involved in a scheme or been approached by anyone claiming that they can withdraw their super early should contact the ATO immediately to advise of the situation and avoid further penalties.

Posted on 6 August '19, under super. No Comments.

Tax requirements for capped defined benefit income streams 

Members who receive income from one or more capped defined benefit income streams may have additional tax liabilities. They would then need to calculate their entitlement to the 10% tax offset if the income from all their capped defined benefit income streams exceeds their defined benefit income cap.

SMSF’s who pay a capped defined benefit income stream to members with a cap will need to provide the ATO with a PAYG withholding payment summary annual report, due by 14 August 2019. Members will have a cap if they have income from a capped defined benefit income stream and are 60 and above or under 60 and receiving a death benefit income stream from a person who died aged 60 or over.

When preparing their individual tax return, members need to:

The defined benefit income cap will be $100,000 for most individuals. It may be less in some circumstances, such as if they turned 60 during the year or were over 60 and then started receiving income from a capped defined benefit income stream for the first time partway through the year.

SMSF’s must ensure all obligations are met, include registering for PAYG, providing members and the ATO with payment summary information, and making sure to comply with withholding obligations of their activity statement.

Posted on 29 July '19, under super. No Comments.

What SMSF records should you keep?

A key responsibility for trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) is to ensure proper and accurate tax and superannuation records are kept for the fund. When you have been running your fund for a long period of time and have amassed a large amount of information, it can be hard as a trustee to know exactly what records to keep, how long for and where to store them.

The ATO requires SMSF trustees to keep the following records for a minimum of five years:

The following records are required to be kept for a minimum of 10 years:

Your SMSF’s records must be kept in Australia, in writing and in English. If your SMSF does not keep the records for the minimum time required, you may be subject to penalties and fines.

Posted on 22 July '19, under super. No Comments.

SMSF rollovers in SuperStream to be deferred

The 2019-2020 Federal Budget suggested a deferral of the extension of SuperStream to self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) rollovers from 30 November 2019 to 31 March 2021. The commencement of this deferral has recently been confirmed by the government.

The deferral will coincide with the $19.3 million that will be provided to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over three years from 2020-21, enabling electronic requests to be sent to superannuation funds for the release of money required under a number of superannuation arrangements.

With the combined date for both bringing electronic release authorities into SuperStream and allowing SMSF rollovers, changes needed to update SuperStream will only need to be undertaken once. The deferral aims to reduce administrative costs for funds and allows for a more integrated design of SuperStream.

First introduced in 2015, SuperStream is a government standard for processing superannuation payments electronically in a streamlined manner. Currently, SuperStream can only process rollovers between two APRA funds electronically but with the change will see this process extend to SMSFs.

Regulations for the deferral to put into effect will be made promptly.

Posted on 15 July '19, under super. No Comments.

Claiming a tax deduction for personal super contributions

Members of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) that are eligible can claim an income tax deduction on personal super contributions. Members that intend to do this must notify their fund trustee before lodging their 2019 individual tax return.

The eligibility requirements to claim a deduction for personal super contributions include:

Prior to lodging their 2019 tax return, eligible members must ensure that they supply the SMSF trustee with a notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions. They must also provide a written acknowledgement from the SMSF trustee of the notice of intent.

Posted on 8 July '19, under super. No Comments.

PAYG reporting dates approach

Changes have been made throughout the year regarding SMSFs and their pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding. As the end of the financial year and the due date for PAYG reporting approaches, SMSF trustees should be checking whether they are meeting new withholding obligations for capped defined benefit income streams paid to their members.

If you have PAYG withholding obligations in 2018–19 you must provide your members with a PAYG payment summary by 14 July 2019 and lodge a PAYG withholding payment summary annual report with the ATO by 14 August 2019.

SMSFs have PAYG withholding obligations for super benefits paid to members who are:

Capped defined benefit income streams include life expectancy and market linked pensions which were payable before 1 July 2017 and reversionary income streams paid to beneficiaries.

SMSF trustees who are paying a capped defined benefit income stream to a member must ensure to meet all obligations. These include registering for PAYG, providing your member and the ATO with payment summary information, and making sure to comply with the withholding obligations of your activity statement.

Posted on 27 June '19, under super. No Comments.

Is your SMSF adequately diversified?

When forming a fund’s investment strategy, diversification is a notable consideration for SMSF trustees. By spreading the investments of a fund across different asset classes and markets that offer varying risks and returns, SMSF members can better position themselves for a secure retirement.

Why diversify?
The intention of diversification is to spread the investment risk of an SMSF. The idea is that if one asset underperforms, it can be offset by the success of other assets and keep the fund on track to meet its investment objectives. Diversifying investments across uncorrelated assets, such as shares and bonds, may also make it possible for investors to lower the volatility of the portfolio.

How to diversify your fund:
Accessing certain asset classes can be challenging for SMSFs due to minimum investment requirements or other ownership restrictions. Managed funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are two options that can provide easy access to diversification. Managed funds pool together money from multiple investors which professional managers then invest in a variety of assets, such as global or local shares, offshore property or high-yield investments. ETFs, on the other hand, aim to replicate the performance of a particular index or group of assets, which can give an investor exposure to an entirely different market or asset class. These two methods can give SMSFs the ability to access more diverse investments.

As having an appropriately diversified portfolio can have a significant impact on members’ retirement savings, trustees may consider seeking professional financial advice in the management of their SMSF’s investment strategies.

Posted on 24 June '19, under super. No Comments.

First Home Super Saver Scheme

The First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme was introduced in the Federal Budget 2017–18 to reduce pressure on housing affordability. The scheme allows people to save money for their first home inside a superannuation fund, helping first home buyers to save faster. Changes introduced to the FHSS scheme in the Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019, will come into effect on 1 July 2019.

The FHSS can now only be applied to a first home that is bought in Australia, as opposed to previously being in any location.

Another change is that individuals must now also apply for and receive an FHSS determination from the ATO before signing a contract for their first home or applying for the release of FHSS amounts. A contract can be signed to purchase or construct a home either:

There is no longer a waiting period between the first FHSS amount being released and signing a contract to purchase or construct the home.

Individuals now have 12 months from the date they make a valid release request to do one of the following:

These changes apply retrospectively to valid FHSS release requests and contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2018.

Posted on 18 June '19, under super. No Comments.

How the ‘Protect Your Super’ changes will affect you

A number of changes to superannuation will come into effect from 1 July 2019. The ‘Protect Your Superannuation’ Bill passed through Parliament in February and forms part of the Government’s package of reforms that were announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget.

The new legislation is designed to protect Australians’ superannuation savings by ensuring that their super balance isn’t negatively affected by unnecessary fees on insurance policies. Changes that may affect you are;

Insurance:
For those who do not act before 1 July, your insurance may be deemed inactive. Under the Protect Your Superannuation Bill, super accounts that have been inactive for 16 months will have their automatic insurance cancelled. Members will be able to ‘opt-in’ to protect their insurance cover and stop their account from being inactive, but this must be done before 30 June.

Ban on exit fees:
The new laws will remove the need to pay exit fees from all superannuation accounts. Trustees that are currently charging exit fees will need to review the current fee structure in order to implement any necessary disclosure and product changes.

All superannuation trustees and members will need to review these changes to ensure they are meeting all necessary obligations. If further help is needed about how the changes will impact you, consult your financial advisor.

Posted on 11 June '19, under super. No Comments.

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