Recently, the ATO’s acting assistant commissioner for superannuation, Steve Keating, outlined the ATO’s current approach to dealing with SMSFs facing compliance issues and making voluntary disclosures, said Shaun Backhaus from DBA Lawyers.
“The ATO has recognised that many Australians are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore it is not pursuing its usual audit program,” Mr Backhaus said.
“For the time being, the ATO is primarily engaging with and resolving issues for those SMSF trustees who have initiated contact with them, mainly through the ATO’s early engagement and voluntary disclosure program.”
Mr Backhaus said, typically, a voluntary disclosure will involve providing all relevant facts, supporting documentation and a rectification proposal or proposed enforceable undertaking to the ATO.
At the moment, the ATO is seeking to resolve issues while minimising the financial sanctions and penalties that might otherwise be applied during these difficult times, he noted.
“This more flexible approach has been brought about as a result of the difficult environment we all face with the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
With the ATO planning to undertake a tougher approach on administrative penalties once it issues its law administration practice statement (PS LA), SMSFs who have compliance issues may want to use the ATO’s voluntary disclosure service sooner rather than later,” Mr Backhaus stressed.
“The ATO has recently reviewed the application of its administrative penalties under s 166 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth) which highlighted that its staff have been too lenient in remitting these penalties.
“The ATO wants to rebalance its handling of imposing these penalties with a firmer approach.
“There is no date on when this flexible ATO approach will end, but we suspect that this will depend on when the PS LA issues and how many contraventions arise as a result of COVID-19.”
Mr Backhaus said it’s likely that, in the current environment, there are a considerable number of SMSFs with contraventions as families and businesses focus on paying for immediate necessities, rather than complying with the super rules.
“These financial pressures do not, however, provide any excuse or defence for contravening the super rules, and advisers in particular should be proactive in alerting clients that illegal early access to super benefits will still be treated seriously,” he warned.
“Sanctions that may apply to illegal early access could, for instance, include hefty tax and administrative penalties, non-compliance, disqualified status and a range of other penalties.”
He also pointed out that the ATO’s more flexible approach is only applicable to SMSF trustees that make a voluntary disclosure before an ATO review or audit is commenced.
“A different treatment applies if any contraventions arise from any ATO review or audit activity,” he said.
“Most contraventions are reported to the ATO by SMSF auditors engaged and paid by each SMSF via the auditor contravention reporting system. Thus, if there is any contravention, it is likely to be notified to the ATO in due course, and early engagement and voluntary disclosure is generally the best way forward.”
01 September 2020
For more than 20 years, Sam has been a financial planner helping individuals and families achieve their financial planning goals, by providing advice on Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning; and Estate Planning. Working with a network of highly skilled professionals in Sydney he is dedicated to providing high-quality advice and integrated wealth management solutions that simplify and enhance the quality of his clients' lives.
Sam established his own firm in 1997 and has overseen its steady development and growth. Attention to detail, good listening skills and great empathy are symbols of his appreciation by his clients. He has built long-term relationships with his growing client base and aims to provide excellent customer service.
Sam began his financial planning career in 1993 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in 1991. Since this time he has accumulated many professional qualifications such as:
Sam has volunteered with the Cancer Council of NSW and can be seen almost every year volunteering or participating in the 7 bridges walk.
Away from the business, he enjoys spending weekends with his son. He is also a football (soccer) tragic and is a massive Chelsea FC fan.
Having worked for national financial planning companies in the past, George has extensive experience in the provision of advice in risk insurance, investments and retirement planning and is focused on forming long-term relationships with his clients.
George has been awarded a Masters of Commerce (Financial Planning) and a Bachelor of Commerce through University of Western Sydney as well as having the Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning).
Jane Lim is a friendly character with a bubbly personality. She has the unique ability of making complex information sound simple and easy to digest.
Jane entered the financial services industry in 2006, and worked with big blue-chip financial companies such as Count Financial Limited and AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd.
She holds a Master's degree in Applied Finance through Macquarie University, and she is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
Being a self-confessed "tennis nut", Jane spends many weeknights in the tennis court, and is a frequent member of Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Tennis Competition.
Being a highly motivated professional, Jane is always eager to help her clients on a wide range of financial planning needs.
Mortgage Broker/Financial Planner
Paul has been a financial planner for over 15 years helping individuals and families successfully achieve their financial planning goals. He is very focused on building successful long-term harmonious relationships with his clients.
He provides a holistic approach on various aspects of financial advice encompassing areas such as Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning and has extensive experience and knowledge in these fields.
Paul's professional qualifications are:
Away from his professional life, he enjoys spending his time with his family doing various activities such as coaching his son and taking him to games. He is a very avid sports fan and a cricket enthusiast.
Client Services Manager
Christian joined Capitalwise as Client Services Manager, with backgrounds in both customer service and administration.
Christian is passionate in providing excellent customer service by being attentive to client’s need as well as being able to circumnavigate challenges.
He holds a Master's degree in Commerce specialising in Marketing through the University of New South Wales.
Volunteering is one of his delights in life, where he had spent time being involved with the Centre for Volunteering, St Vincent de Paul's Society, and Sculpture by the Sea in a variety of positions.
Jenny is a University of New South Wales graduate who joined the team as an Administration Assistant. She is keen to put her customer service and organisational skills to use, making sure day to day operations run as smoothly as possible.
Outside of work, Jenny focuses her efforts on karate and ice hockey. She can often be found coaching and practicing karate at her alma mater. The rest of her time is spent at one of Sydney’s many ice rinks playing, practicing, or officiating ice hockey.
B Econ (Hons) Cert IV FS (MB) Dip. FS (FP) AFB MeSAFAA
Max has over 20 years experience in the finance and lending industry of which over 15 years has been in financial advice. Max attained a Bachelor of Economics honours degree at The University of Sussex in 2004, after which he settled in Australia with his family.
Max has never stopped studying as he is always looking at ways he can better assist his clients and has studied many courses in financial advice, lending and technical analysis as he continues to try and stay ahead of his competitors in terms of the knowledge he can share with his clients.
Max has worked for several large and successful organisations before starting his own business in 2014. He has gained valuable experience from the likes of Lloyds Bank, American Express, HSBC, General Electric, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac. He draws on this vast experience to benefit his clients whilst bringing a much more personal touch than you would get from one of these larger organisations.
Max’s philosophy is to always put his clients first, which is what makes him so successful and popular with his clients, having built a thriving business primarily through referrals from very happy clients.
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