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Keeping your SMSF compliant while overseas

Travelling overseas for an extended period of time is an exciting adventure. What isn’t so exciting is the prospect of breaking compliance laws in relation to your SMSF while enjoying your trip.

There are specific conditions that must be met to deem the self-managed super fund ATO compliant. They are as follows:

Fund recognised as an Australian fund
The SMSF will be recognised as an Australian super fund provided that the setup of and initial contributions are likely to have been made and accepted by the trustee(s) in Australia or at least one of its assets is located in Australia.

Management and control of the fund carried out in Australia
The central management and control of the fund must ordinarily be in Australia. This means the SMSF’s strategic decisions are regularly made, and high-level duties and activities are performed in Australia. Some examples include formulating the investment strategy, reviewing the performance of the fund’s investments and determining how assets are to be used for member benefits.

Generally, fund’s will meet this condition even if its central management and control is temporarily outside Australia for up to two years. If central management and control of the fund is permanently outside Australia for any period, it will not meet this requirement.

Active member test
An “active member” is a contributor to the fund or contributions to the fund have been made on their behalf.

To satisfy the “active member test” trustees should ensure the fund has no active members, or it has active members who are Australian residents and who hold at least 50 per cent of the total market value of the fund’s assets attributable super interests, or the sum of the amounts that would be payable to active members if they decided to leave the fund.

If a member of the fund becomes a non-resident but still wishes to make or receive contributions, they should do this outside of their SMSF, i.e., through a retail or industry super fund. When they return as an Australian resident, they can then rollover the contributions to their SMSF.

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Understanding various kinds of super fees

February 16, 2018

No matter the kind of superfund you opt for, you will be subject to super fees. Understanding how these fees work and the difference they can make to your next egg is vital.

When it comes to superfund fees, there are two factors you need to get your head around; the kinds of fees you are being charged and the rate of fees you pay. Opting for a superfund based on these two factors can see you retire with hundreds of thousands more money.

You should be aware of the various types of fees you are being charged. If you would like to find out the fees you are being charged, you should do two things. Firstly, Google your fund’s product disclosure statement and scroll through to the fees section. You should see a list of different types of fees, with an explanation of what they are, how they are applied, and how often they will be incurred. Secondly, you should log in to your superfund account and take note of all the fees being charged to you. Investigate how closely these correspond and correlate with the product disclosure statement.

If you feel there are discrepancies, do not hesitate to contact your superfund or financial advisor and ask for clarification. It is worthwhile doing your research and comparing the fees you are being charged against other super funds and what they charge. Being complacent and not paying attention to your super is extremely irresponsible; the dividends you will receive later in life for being diligent now outweighs the burden of taking time to be informed today.

Some of the common super fees across the board include:

Another major factor contributing to how much you accumulate in your super account throughout your working life is the rate of fees you pay. Plain and simple, some funds offer much lower fees than other, creating a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars when it comes time to retire.

Generally, funds are categorised into three groups; low super fees, medium super fees and high super fees. Ultimately, you want to be in a fund that charges low super fees. In saying this, it’s not only about super fees, as some funds have medium-high super fees but also perform better based on investment strategy, meaning you will get more back from your investments.