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ATO advice for SMSF members with a market-linked pension

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has recently been made aware of circumstances where a member of a SMSF commences a new market-linked pension and unintentionally exceeds their transfer balance cap.

An individual may have exceeded their transfer balance cap if they were receiving a life expectancy or market-linked pension just before 1 July 2017 (which was a capped defined benefit income stream) and then commuted the pension on or after 1 July 2017 and the transfer balance debit is nil under the special value rule in Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 subsection 294-1245(1); and then commenced a new market-linked pension.

The ATO has acknowledged these are unintended consequences associated with the current law and will not take compliance action at this stage provided an individual’s circumstances align with the above situation and:

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Income stream within an SMSF

March 18, 2019

One of the best ways to ensure regular, flexible and tax-effective income as a pensioner is through an income stream from your SMSF. As a member, you can receive an income stream in a reoccurring series of benefit payments from your super fund.

Income streams from an SMSF are usually account-based, which means that the amount allocated to the pension comes directly from a member’s account. Once an account-based pension commences, there is an ongoing requirement for the trustees of the superannuation fund to ensure the pension standards and laws are met.

Standards that must be met in order for SMSFs to pay income stream pensions include:

SMSF trustees may need to amend fund trust deeds to meet the minimum pension standards. For more information on how to do this, you should consult a legal adviser. Records must be kept of pension value at commencement, taxable elements of the pension at commencement, earnings from assets that support the pension and any pension payments made.