The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) has become the latest industry body to provide an education program for trustees.
The new program has received Australian Taxation Office (ATO) approval, allowing it to be used as part of the regulator’s new penalty regime.
“What this simply means is that when the ATO directs a trustee to complete a SMSF education program after reviewing their SMSF, the SPAA trustee education program is on its approved list,” SPAA head of education services Liz Ward said.
However, Ward specified that was not the only use intended for the new facility.
“What’s also important for trustees to understand is that they can do the SPAA trustee education program without a directive from the ATO – and SPAA urges them to do so because the course, which is split into eight modules, offers critical insights into their obligations as trustees,” she said.
In particular, she suggested it was a good tool to help individuals about to establish an SMSF better understand the compliance obligations associated with being a super trustee. “Anyone thinking of starting an SMSF and does the online course will be able to sign the ATO’s mandatory trustee declaration form, confident they understand their role and responsibilities,” she said.
“It is very important that trustees, who are taking control of their retirement savings, to also fully understand their responsibilities and avoid any risk of not complying with all regulations – and this course is designed as a good starting point for that knowledge quest.”
The program itself addresses issues such as what a trustee needs to know, what a trustee can and cannot do with their SMSF, and where a trustee can go when they need assistance in running their own fund.
“Each module has ‘check your knowledge’ questions to help trustees identify what they have learnt and, on successfully completing the program, they are issued with a SPAA completion certificate,” Ward said.