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ATO, Compliance & Regulation

ATO details admin penalty remission appeals process

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has published details of the procedures SMSF trustees can follow if they wish to challenge the severity of a remission decision regarding the new administrative penalty regime for contraventions of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act.

Under its new enforcement powers, the regulator has the ability to fully or partially rescind a penalty issued to an SMSF for a compliance breach after considering the specific circumstances of the event or decision that caused the infringement.

“As a general rule, the penalty may be remitted if it was the first time trustees contravened the super laws and they had rectified the contravention or had taken steps to rectify the contravention by the time our audit started,” the ATO said in a recent announcement.

“Trustees may object against our remission decision if the amount of the penalty that remains payable is more than two penalty units.”

According to the tax office, trustees looking to contest a remission decision must do so in a signed and dated written document detailing why they considered the regulator’s decision to be incorrect.

In addition, the objection must be lodged within 60 days from when the penalty notice was served.

The regulator also detailed further courses of action available if the initial challenge to the remission was unsuccessful.

“If a trustee disagrees with our decision on their objection, they can apply for an independent, external review,” it said.

“When we give our decision we will let the trustee know if they can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review or appeal to the Federal Court.”

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