Sep 9, 2022

Compliance with super laws – ATO’s approach

When it comes to compliance by SMSF trustees with super laws, the ATO’s main focus is on encouraging trustees to comply with the super laws. However, there are occasions when stronger responses are required. The following courses of action are available to the ATO to deal with SMSF trustees who have not complied with super laws:

Education direction

The ATO may give an SMSF trustee a written direction to undertake a course of education when they have been found to have contravened super laws. The trustee will need to provide evidence they have completed the course.

Enforceable undertaking

A SMSF trustee may initiate a written undertaking to rectify a contravention. The ATO will decide whether or not to accept the undertaking, taking into account factors such as the compliance history of the trustee, the nature of the contravention and the strategies to prevent the contravention from recurring.

Rectification direction

The ATO may give a trustee, or a director of a corporate trustee, a written direction to rectify a contravention of the super laws.

Administrative penalties

Individual trustees and directors of corporate trustees are personally liable to pay an administrative penalty for breaches of various provisions of the super laws.

Disqualification of a trustee

The ATO may disqualify an individual from acting as a trustee or director of a corporate trustee if they have contravened super laws or if the ATO is concerned about the individual’s actions or suitability to be a trustee. Civil and criminal penalties may apply where an SMSF trustee has contravened certain provisions of the super laws.

Notice of non-compliance

Serious contraventions of the super laws may result in an SMSF being issued with a notice of non-compliance. In this case, the fund remains non-compliant until they receive a notice of compliance.

Allowing the SMSF to be wound up

Following a contravention, the trustee may decide to wind up the SMSF and roll over any remaining benefits to an APRA regulated fund. However, the ATO may continue to issue the SMSF with a notice of non-compliance or apply other compliance treatments.

Freezing an SMSF’s assets

The ATO may give a trustee or investment manager a notice to freeze an SMSF’s assets where it appears that conduct by the trustees or investment manager is likely to adversely affect the interests of the beneficiaries to a significant extent. Do you need help with your SMSF?

If you are a trustee who is unsure of your fund’s compliance with super laws, contact us today. We can assist.