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ATO action on overdue SMSF annual returns

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is cracking down on self-managed super funds (SMSFs) that have overdue SMSF annual returns, particularly those with two or more returns overdue.

As part of its compliance action, the ATO is currently:
– Cancelling approximately 9,000 ABNs of SMSFs that show no evidence of operating
– Writing to SMSF trustees who are in pension phase to remind them that they still have a lodgment obligation
– Continuing to focus on SMSFs with high levels of income and/or high-value assets who also have overdue returns
– Taking further compliance and audit action on selected SMSFs
– Visiting selected tax agents to obtain feedback on why their SMSF clients’ lodgments are overdue
– Contacting tax agents by phone to obtain an agreed date for lodgment of overdue SMSF annual returns.

SMSFs that do not meet the agreed lodgment timeframes will be subject to serious financial implications.

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Protect yourself from early super release scams

August 7, 2018

When it comes to protecting your nest egg, avoid getting caught out by a promoter of an illegal early release super scheme.

Early release super scheme scams will involve a promoter contacting you and offering to help you access your super early. They usually target individuals under significant financial pressure or those who are not knowledgeable about super laws and the repercussions and penalties involved in illegally accessing your super.

You can only access your super when you meet a condition of release.

Generally, when you:
– Are 65 years old (even if you have not yet retired).
– Reach your preservation age and retire.
– Reach your preservation age and begin a transition to retirement income stream while still working.

There are special circumstances where you may be able to access your super early.

These special circumstances include:
– Severe financial hardship
– Temporary or permanent incapacity
– Compassionate grounds
– Temporary residents leaving Australia
– Super death benefits (inheriting super)
– Super less than $200
– Terminal medical condition

To avoid falling for an illegal early super release scam, be wary if the promoter:
– charges high fees and commissions;
– requests identity documents;
– claims you can access your super and put the funds towards whatever you wish;
– and tries to persuade you to transfer or rollover your super from your existing fund to a self-managed super fund (SMSF) in order to access your super before you are legally entitled.