SMSF lodgements slowly improving: ATO

The ATO has revealed SMSFs are getting better at meeting their key lodgement responsibilities, however, the tax office is closely monitoring funds that have lapsed lodgements.

ATO SMSF segment director Craig Blair said lodgements were core compliance obligations, with the annual independent audit being a key integrity check as it provided the tax office with valuable information about SMSFs at risk.

“Lodgement is a key trustee obligation and one that we’re increasingly concerned about because timely lodgement is critical to our regulation and our compliance monitoring,” Blair told a Self-Managed Independent Superannuation Funds Association webinar.

“We have found that on-time lodgement rates, as well as the overall lodgement rates, are steadily improving, but having said that, there are still too many funds that have outstanding lodgement obligations.

“Some of the action we can take is that we do now remove from Super Fund Lookup the details of all SMSFs that have two or more years of overdue lodgements, which restricts their ability to receive rollovers from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority funds.”

In addition, some employers checked Super Fund Lookup before making contributions to a fund, he said.

He warned the ATO would keep the SMSF’s details off Super Fund Lookup until lodgement was up to date and also revealed it was keeping an eye on missed lodgements.

“We’ve been targeting some funds that we call lapsed lodges that have been making lodgements but we haven’t heard from recently or for a little while,” he said.

“We have removed a significant number of them from Super Fund Lookup and in some cases it means they were a non-operating fund and they have been wound up.

“Interestingly, out of that work to date, some funds that we haven’t heard from for quite a while, 34 per cent of them are now completely up to date with their lodgements and a further 7 per cent have wound up.

“But we obviously still have more work to do with the balance.”

In February, Blair announced the ATO’s priority outcomes for the SMSF sector, including digitising parts of the SMSF process, which was to be delivered as part of its reinvention over the next four years.

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