The federal government has reignited the superannuation wars and taken sides against the SMSF sector, a position evident in its legislative agenda, according to opposition treasury spokesman Angus Taylor.
At a recent industry event Taylor outlined a number of government proposals indicating it was partisan in regards to superannuation changes.
“The super wars are well and truly with us right now and I think it’s important to acknowledge that the government has chosen sides in the super debate,” he said.
“Whether it’s the attempt to hide transparency from how industry funds are spending members’ money, the desire to commit super funds to the fiscal priorities of the government, the clawback on franking credits, the broken promise on super taxes or, more recently, the approach to non-arm’s-length expenses (NALE).
“We’ve seen many areas where the government is taking sides and self-managed super funds are often on the wrong side of that debate.”
Taylor pointed out the opposition had deep concerns about the NALE changes, which will mainly apply to SMSFs, stating the exclusion of Australian Prudential Regulation Authority-regulated funds creates a two-tiered superannuation system.
“The government, in this particular case, has done what they’ve been doing as a matter of habit now, where they put a very contentious provision inside a largely non-contentious bill,” he noted.
“The truth is this is very contentious and a two-tiered superannuation system is something I fear the government wants, but the exact opposite of what we need.”
In regards to the $3 million superannuation earnings tax, Taylor repeated the opposition claim it was a broken promise and highlighted the lack of indexation and the inclusion of unrealised capital gains.
“The taxation of unrealised capital gains really is crossing the rubicon and we are in a whole new world where we have a government that thinks that is okay,” he explained.
“We know many small businesses have put at least a portion of their business into an SMSF and they are now going to be subject to unrealised capital gains.
“In some way cash is going to have to be realised and that may mean selling up the business and that’s the last thing we need for a small business person who typically will be working very hard just to keep their head above water.
“The trade-off in compulsory superannuation is really clear. If you’re going to make it compulsory, it’s important at all times you signal to Australians that it’s their money, not the government’s, and we think at times this government is crossing that line.
“When someone chooses to set up an SMSF, they’re making a choice about how they want to invest and we fear that that choice is now in jeopardy.”''