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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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News

Updates to the unclaimed superannuation money protocol

January 15, 2020

The Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 (SUMLMA), more commonly known as the unclaimed superannuation money protocol, has been updated recently to provide a clearer structure going forward.

SUMLMA provides guidance on in relation to unclaimed money, lost member accounts, superannuation accounts of former temporary residents and their associated reporting and payment obligations. The update has now added content on inactive low balance accounts.

The act now clearly defines what is an inactive low-balance account, how statements and payments work, the registering of lost members and various rules for special cases.

It is important to note that the information in the protocol does not apply to super providers that are trustees of a state or territory public sector super scheme, in which:

The protocol provides administrative guidance only and should not be taken as a replacement for the law or technical reporting specifications.