Body worried about accountants’ compliance

The SMSF Association has expressed concerns over the prospect of accountants continuing to provide advice to SMSF clients without being properly licensed in the wake of a poor response to the new licensing regime that came into effect on 1 July.

Speaking at the recent SMSF Association State Technical Conference in Sydney, chair of the industry body Andrew Gale said: “Many have been surprised by both the very low level of accountant licence applications leading up to the 1st of July and apparently, and anecdotally, low levels of authorised rep applications through existing licensees.

“We hope that some accountants providing SMSF services are not taking the very significant risk of running the gauntlet of continuing to provide these services on an unlicensed basis.”

Gale warned the Australian Securities and Investments Commission would be active and vigilant in its compliance enforcement and pointed out SMSF Association members had a role to play in the process.

“We encourage you to encourage professional colleagues in your networks to be fully compliant,” he said.

In regard to the proposed superannuation changes handed down in the 2016 federal budget, he noted a few particular areas on which the association would concentrate.

“Our continued focus is working effectively with government on refinements and the enabling legislation with a particular focus on concessional contributions, especially for those aged over 50, and some of the more concerning aspects and unintended consequences of the non-concessional contribution changes,” he said.

On a positive note, he pointed out some of the items included in the budget that reflected how effective the association’s advocacy activities had been to date.

“There were actually some significant achievements incorporated into the federal budget changes and these were a direct consequence of the SMSF Association’s strong advocacy efforts,” he said.

“Especially a higher Div 293 outcome than the government was contemplating, the five-year catch-up provisions for concessional contributions, removing the 10 per cent rule for deductible super contributions, harmonising super contribution rules for those aged 65 to 74, and removing anti-detriment provisions.

“All [of these are] a reflection of the association’s advocacy efforts working quietly and effectively behind the scenes.”

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