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Ballarat Financial Planners: SMSF Trust Deed Guide

At Sky Accountants Ballarat & Financial Planners Ballarat, our goal is to empower you to become a better, more finance-focused and well-rounded individual or entrepreneur. Contact us at info@skyacc.com.au or 1300 328 855

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If you are thinking of running your own SMSF, you need to complete some administrative tasks like drawing up an SMSF trust deed before you can start the more exciting business of investing. An SMSF trust deed is a legal document, which outlines how your fund will be set up and how it will operate. An Australian SMSF is established with a trust deed that complies with superannuation laws. 

An SMSF is set up as a trust, which is a legal structure where an individual or company trustee holds assets for the trust’s beneficiaries. A super fund is a type of trust that is set up and maintained for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to the beneficiaries. An SMSF trust must be correctly set up so you can take advantage of the tax benefits of superannuation.

The ATO regulates SMSF and monitors their compliance with superannuation laws. It can impose penalties in case of non-compliance. To establish a trust, you are required to have a trust deed. An SMSF can have up to four members but there are talks that this will increase to six. Each SMSF member must be a fund trustee or a director of a corporate trustee. SMSF trustees manage the fund to make sure it complies with Australian superannuation legislation. Assets are also required and SMSFs can be started with as low as $10 that’s allocated to the members of the fund. Pre-existing super balances of members from industry or retail funds can be rolled into an SMSF as initial assets.

An SMSF trust deed often includes the names of the trustees and members or names of the fund’s directors if it’s set up with a corporate trustee structure. It also states the objective of the SMSF. All Australian super funds and SMSFs are set up for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to fund members or dependents. It includes rules for trustees and directors to implement the investment strategy of the fund. They must document the investment strategy when setting up the SMSF as well. The trust deed outlines the specific investment types that the trustees or directors can make. The rules on how the fund will be administered, how benefits will be paid and how the fund can be wound up are also included in the SMSF trust deed.

At Sky Accountants Ballarat & Financial Planners Ballarat, our goal is to empower you to become a better, more finance-focused and well-rounded individual or entrepreneur. Contact us at info@skyacc.com.au or 1300 328 855

Ballarat Financial Planners

While you can purchase standard SMSF trust deeds online, it is ideal to hire an experienced financial planner to assist with the preparations of your fund’s trust deed, especially if your SMSF arrangements are complex. A financial planner can make sure your SMSF complies with superannuation laws. It is important for trustees and directors to be involved in discussions during the SMSF trust deed preparation so everyone can agree and understand how the fund will be managed from the start. SMSF trust deeds are not subject to stamp duty except in Norther Territory and Tasmania where they come with nominal fees.

An SMSF trust deed must be written in that it does not require regular updating but it should be reviewed at least annually to make sure it is up to date with fund changes or changes to superannuation legislation. SMSF trust deeds typically need to be updated for changes involving excess pension funds, among others. Cap changes can also affect the amounts that SMSF members can contribute to the fund each year so SMSF trust deeds may need to be updated in case of excess contributions.

Minor typographical errors such as names spelled incorrectly, middle names omitted or incorrect dates may need minor updates. You can use a deed of variation for minor updates instead of drafting an updated trust deed document. This can highlight minor trust deed errors with the correct information and should be prepared and signed by all trustees and directors before being attached to the SMSF trust deed.

At Sky Accountants Ballarat & Financial Planners Ballarat, our goal is to empower you to become a better, more finance-focused and well-rounded individual or entrepreneur. Contact us at info@skyacc.com.au or 1300 328 855

Experienced financial planners should handle updates to SMSF trust deeds to ensure compliance. If an SMSF trust deed is lost, you should contact your financial planner, accountant or lawyer – otherwise there’s no other remedy but to prepare a new one to ensure compliance. SMSF trustees or directors must retain the original hard copy of the fund’s trust deed while the fund is in operation or for five years after the fund’s final annual tax return is submitted to the ATO. It must be kept in a secure place. Government departments and courts often do not accept printed or digital copies but you can save a digital copy to the cloud for easy reference.

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