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ATO toughens annual return lodgement stance

SMSF annual return lodgment

Late lodgement of an SMSF annual return from 1 October will impact on funds’ complying status, the Australian Taxation Office has warned.

The ATO has advised late lodgement of an SMSF annual return will result in a change to a fund’s status on its Super Fund Lookup (SFLU) facility until compliance with the reporting requirement is satisfied.

The SMSF regulator stated: “From 1 October 2019, if an SMSF is more than two weeks overdue on any annual return lodgement due date and hasn’t requested a lodgement deferral, we will change their status on SFLU to ‘Regulation details removed’.”

“We’re taking this approach because non-lodgement combined with disengagement indicates that retirement savings may be at risk.

“This status will remain until any overdue lodgements have been brought up to date.”

The new ‘Regulation details removed’ status means member benefits from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority-regulated super funds cannot be rolled over to the SMSF and employers will be unable to make any super guarantee contribution payments for members of the SMSF, the ATO said.

The regulator also strongly recommended trustees who did not think they would meet the due date should call the ATO in advance to seek a deferral to lodge.

“While the fund’s status is ‘Regulation details removed’, members should alert their employer to make any SG (superannuation guarantee) payments into the employer’s default super fund or a fund of the member’s choice,” it said.

“Once the SFLU status of the SMSF has been updated to ‘complying’, members can request a rollover to their SMSF of any member benefits that may be held outside their SMSF.”

The ATO has continually reported that late or non-lodgement of annual returns remains one of the most common and significant compliance breaches among the SMSF sector.

In September, the ATO announced a new strategy to counteract schemes encouraging illegal access to superannuation by reviewing each all new SMSFs before allowing them to be listed on its SFLU facility.

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