ATO leniency for new super rules unclear

The ATO has made an initial comment on the approach it will take in regards to the new superannuation measures that will start from 1 July 2017, such as breaching the contribution caps.

“We will be doing the most that we can to support and assist those people where it has been demonstrated that they have actually tried to do what they can to get under the caps,” ATO superannuation assistant commissioner Kasey Macfarlane told the 8th Annual Self-managed Independent Superannuation Funds Association SMSF Forum in Melbourne last Friday.

“In terms of the specific consequences, there might be some leniency in there, but I don’t have the specifics at the moment.

“It’s more about making sure that people are making that attempt to get below the caps.”

In the past, the ATO has been vocal in communicating its approach to SMSF compliance, where proactive trustees and advisers of trustees with any problems with their fund could find a resolution with the tax office without having to face the full administration penalties.

“Our overriding preference is to educate, support and assist trustees who are willing to do the right thing and get it right the first time, or else willing to engage with us and work with us to self-correct and self-rectify issues within their fund,” Macfarlane said.

“But then we tend to concentrate on more serious issues of non-compliance, including trustees who aren’t willing to engage and trustees who deliberately and consistently do not comply with the obligations, such as not lodging the SMSF annual return and those adopting aggressive income tax positions.

“We really look to support those who are willing to engage and work with us.”

She also reminded the industry of the early guidance the ATO was set to release covering practical examples and the tax commissioner’s views.

In addition, the tax office will issue law companion guidelines as part of its plans to provide information on the new super measures.

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