SMSF trustees should be aware of the rules and obligations that govern how they manage their funds.
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It is the responsibility of self-managed super fund trustees to make sure that their funds submit an annual tax return to the ATO. Your financial adviser can complete this. The tax return must clearly disclose all necessary income tax information and member contributions, and be audited. Any tax obligations related to the fund have to be fully paid.
SMSFs should go through a yearly audit by an independent, ASIC-approved auditor, which should be done at least 45 days before the annual tax return’s due date. The auditor will analyse and examine the fund’s financial statements and assess whether it is compliant by Australian superannuation law or not. Any non-compliance will be reported to the ATO and the trustee.
SMSFs should also pay the $259 annual supervisory levy to the ATO. It is paid in advance so an SMSF in its first year of operation has to pay double the amount. If you are the SMSF’s trustee, you should also make sure that all employer super guarantee contributions made on behalf of members are paid via SuperStream, the ATO’s super payment system.
To remain compliant, the fund should meet the sole purpose test. The fund should be maintained for the key purpose of death benefits, member retirement benefits or at least one of these core benefits plus one or more ancillary benefits such as disability or resignation benefit. If not, significant penalties may apply.
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Another important SMSF tax obligation is submitting your annual tax return on time. The due date generally is 28 February of the following year. Failure to submit your annual tax return on time can lead to penalties and loss of SMSF tax concessions. Your SMSF assets and bank account must also be kept separate from your individual bank account and that of the fund’s members. If SMSF-related expenses are paid using other bank accounts, you should notify the ATO early on to ensure proper compliance is followed. If not, you may incur penalties and lose SMSF tax concessions.
Money from SMSF should not be used for any purpose other than acting as your super fund. It contravenes strict SMSF compliance regulations and violation can result in penalties and loss of tax concessions. Other consequences include trustee disqualification and civil and criminal penalties.
Should you make any mistakes, you can work with your accountant and resolve any errors with the ATO. Be active in managing your SMSF and speak with your accountant to make sure you remain compliant and up to date with any new regulation. Your accountant will advise on the legal aspects of your fund but you need to stay in control and meet with your accountant at least every year to review your obligations.
It’s best to regularly review and amend your trust deed, investment portfolio and strategy and revisit members’ personal circumstances like health, financial status, relationships and travel. Monitor retirement plans and understand how all these can impact the fund.
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