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When can the ATO issue a default assessment for overdue lodgements

A default assessment is an assessment of taxable income for overdue tax returns or the net amount or assessable amount-for late activity statements. Although the ATO’s preferred approach is to work with taxpayers to help them meet their lodgement obligations, a default assessment will be issued if this collaborative approach fails.

Penalty
The administrative penalty of 75% of the tax-related liability will be applied for each default assessment issued by the ATO. The penalty increases by 20% for taxpayers who have a pattern of non-compliance and the ATO may also apply for another penalty for failing to lodge on time.

Assessment notice warnings
A warning letter will be sent by the ATO including the details of the default assessment and the date the overdue obligation needs to be lodged by to avoid a default assessment. If you do not receive notice of your default assessment, it will be if there is a risk of:

What you should do if you receive a warning letter
If you receive a warning letter, ensure all overdue obligations are lodged by the date advised in the warning letter. If you are a tax agent, notify your client, immediately, remove the client from your client list if you no longer represent the taxpayer and provide new contact details of the client to the ATO if you possess them.

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News

Self-managed super funds (SMSF) aren’t just about financial investment

December 3, 2020

Individuals may be looking to opt for an SMSF because these provide entire control over where the money is invested. While this sounds enticing, the downside is that they involve a lot more time and effort as all investment is managed by the members/trustees.

Firstly, SMSFs require a lot of on-going investment of time:

Data shows that SMSF trustees spend an average of 8 hours per month managing their SMSFs. This adds up to more than 100 hours per year and demonstrates that compared to other superannuation methods, is a lot more time occupying.

Secondly, there are set-up and maintenance costs of SMSFs such as tax advice, financial advice, legal advice and hiring an accredited auditor. These costs are difficult to avoid if you want the best out of your SMSF. A statistical review has shown that on average, the operating cost of an SMSF is $6,152. This data is inclusive of deductible and non-deductible expenses such as auditor fee, management and administration expenses etc., but not inclusive of costs such as investment and insurance expenses.

Thirdly, investing in SMSF requires financial and legal knowledge and skill. Trustees should understand the investment market so that they can build and manage a diversified portfolio. Further, when creating an investment strategy, it is important to assess the risk and plan ahead for retirement, which can be difficult if one is not equipped with the necessary knowledge. In terms of legal knowledge, complying with tax, super and other relevant regulations requires a basic level of understanding at the very least. Finally, insurance for fund members also needs to be organised which can be difficult without additional knowledge.
Although SMSFs have the advantage of autonomy when it comes to investing, this comes at a price. Members/trustees need to invest time and money into managing the fund and on top of this, are required to have some financial and legal knowledge to successfully manage the fund.