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ATO impersonation scam report

The ATO has released an Impersonation Scam Report for the month of February 2019. Highlighted are the various ways in which scammers have attempted to contact people, posing as the ATO.

The most common method of contact was by phone calls or messages, accounting for 97% of reported scams over the month. Reports of 9,342 phone scams were officially recorded, decreasing significantly from 13,800 reports in January 2019. Emails accounted for 2% of scamming methods. The remaining 1% reported was scam by text message.

According to the ATO, the amount collected by scammers was approximately $256,635, over $240,000 less than January 2019. Payments to these scams by bank transfers significantly increased in February, accounting for 47% overall.

Although trends are down in the last month, the ATO is working to create better public awareness of these scams. The ATO has launched a new scam warning video across their various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Ineligible downsizer contributions and how they are administered

August 12, 2019

When a downsizer contribution is ineligible, the fund must re-assess the amount in accordance with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 and the trust deed. This is to determine if the amount can be retained as a non-concessional contribution.

Provided the trust deed allows so, the fund can return the contribution to the member or adjust the prior downsizing contributions to nil and report this amount as a non-concessional contribution when the member meets the age and work tests.

When a contribution can’t be returned or returned in full:
Members who no longer have a super interest with the fund, or an insufficient return amount, must have their contribution re-reported as non-concessional, even if the contribution was returned because the member did not meet the age/work tests. Some of the contribution may be an excess non-concessional contribution (ENCC). Regardless of the age of the member, if this is the case the member will receive an ENCC determination or when the fund can’t return the full amount. Members will continue to have access to all review rights under the ENCC scheme. Even if the member is in pension phase, the funds will still need to return an ineligible downsizer contribution if it cannot be accepted.

When a fund receives a release authority:
An amount released under these circumstances is treated as a super lump sum as it is a portion of the member’s super interest. Being in pension phase doesn’t prevent a fund from complying with the release authority although it may mean the full amount can’t be released, as the available balance may be lower than the amount stated in the release authority. Where the member’s available balance is lower than the release authority amount, the fund must release the maximum amount available.

The ATO monitors the rectification of this contribution reporting. Where funds don’t act within legislative timeframes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) may be contacted.