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Common SMSF mistakes to avoid

Running a self-managed super fund can be a great strategy for your super and your retirement, provided you manage it correctly.

To ensure you can enjoy the later stages of life and retire comfortably, you will need to be aware of common SMSF mistakes and how to avoid them.

Record keeping

Bad record keeping when it comes to SMSFs is very common and very problematic. If the ATO decides to look into your SMSF and your record keeping is subpar, you and the rest of the members of the fund could land themselves in hot water. Good record keeping practices are a great preventative measure for being liable for fines and penalties should the ATO choose to investigate the fund. It is also a great habit to get into as proper documentation makes all decision making regarding your fund much more legitimate.

Financial assistance or loans to members

By law, you cannot loan or offer financial assistance to a member of the self-managed super fund at any time, either directly or indirectly. Many members entertain the mindset that because it is their money, they can allocate loans to other members and to themselves, but this is not the case. Should the ATO catch a member of an SMSF doing this, they will face harsh penalties. They may also lose all concessional tax benefits, which impacts the whole fund and not just the guilty member.

Contribution cap

According to the Australian Taxation Office, if a member of a self-managed super fund makes a contribution or their contributions in any given financial year exceed the contribution caps, they may be liable for an additional tax on the excess contributions. As of 1 July 2017, the contribution cap for all members of an SMSF regardless of age is $25,000 which is taxed at a rate of 15 per cent. If members contribute over this amount, they could be taxed at 47 per cent on additional contributions.

Education

For the most part, most mistakes or errors surrounding your SMSF and the management of the fund can be avoided if you and the other members in the fund educate themselves on rules, regulations and strategies to remain compliant. With the internet available virtually everywhere, you can always read up on and stay up to date with ways to run the SMSF effectively. Just beware of where you are getting your information from and ensure it is a trustworthy site. You can also always speak to your financial advisor for guidance and advice.

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News

Do you know where your super is?

February 21, 2019

If you’re not close to retiring, you may not be thinking about your super or where it is. Even if you are a way off from retiring, you should be keeping track of where your super has gone. $17.5 billion of super was lost in 2017-18, $420 million down from the previous year. If you are not paying attention to your super contributions, accounts and insurances, you may have lost super. You may also have unintentionally lost track of super if you have ever changed your name, address, job or lived overseas.

It is not uncommon for people to have multiple super accounts they have acquired over the years of working at different companies. Having multiple unused accounts can result in high fees that drain your untouched super or you could lose track of it completely. It is in your best interest to consolidate all super into one account that suits your retirement goals. When closing unused accounts, you should be mindful of any termination fees, insurance policies, investment options, and ongoing service fees.

If you have lost track of your super it may be held by either your super fund as a lost account or as an ATO-held account. The easiest way to consolidate super is through the myGov website, linking the ATO to records of your super funds