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ATO working on better super data

The ATO has said it is aware of the expectations for improved visibility on super information in light of the substantial changes announced in the budget, but has asked the industry to be patient as it awaits its solutions and improvements as they will take some time.

“It is evident that the ATO will need to progressively move to service and, of course, monitor account balances and how they need to be managed,” ATO deputy commissioner for superannuation James O’Halloran told the CPA National SMSF Conference in Melbourne on Friday.

“When one has measures that are certainly ‘point in time’, in terms of the current statements around the $1.6 million through to some of the changes to the caps, it is a mixture of points in time information and also a combination of features or caps which will need to be monitored over the next couple of years.

“So therefore it is very much likely to, logically, increase the expectations on the ATO as holder of much of that information to be able to present it to you.

“Our preference is to move to being able to advise you in advance of approaching caps for considerations et cetera, but it is still early days and we would appreciate that we need to see where the policy actually lands.”

In addition, the ATO recognised the need to be responsive in the coming financial year, O’Halloran noted.

“But it will take some time,” he said.

“We also recognise that advisers and clients will expect to be able to see, in as timely way as possible, how they are tracking to the range of caps, timing issues which may impact on their ability to access various concessions and to avoid excess contributions penalties.

“What this highlights for us is the need to step up as to how we interact with the community and how we make this information available – we will be speaking to industry as to how this can be done and what we can work on together.

“The new [superannuation] measures as currently presented will require the commissioner to provide early certainty for the superannuation industry as to how we will apply the law in our role as administrator for SMSFs and the matters that will attract our attention.”

He said it was clear emerging administrative design principles for the ATO would include a recognition and understanding of the expectations of early advice, as well as improved visibility on superannuation information.

“Of course in the SMSF sector we are conscious there are many commercial packages at the moment that generally from an investment point of view do in fact provide very good information to people,” he said.

“So in the SMSF space, in particular, there certainly already are good visibility tools to advise around the health and state of their SMSF.”

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