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SMSFA, ATO partner to lift sector outcomes

The SMSF Association and the ATO have announced a three-year strategic partnership, which aims to maintain and improve the integrity and professionalism of the SMSF sector, as well as influence appropriate behaviour.

The new arrangement became effective on 15 February.

A statement of intent was released today in which the peak industry body and the ATO outlined their intentions to work together to ensure effective regulation and integrity of the SMSF sector.

At the SMSF Association 2017 National Conference in Melbourne today, association chief executive Andrea Slattery said the partnership was a landmark agreement between the key regulator in the SMSF sector and the recognised industry body.

“This is the first time something like this has ever happened between a regulator and an industry body, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to be working closely and collaboratively, as we need to maintain high standards within the competency of advice and the knowledge of trustees,” Slattery told conference delegates.

“The goals are to work in partnership to improve and maintain the integrity and professionalism of the SMSF sector, and focus on enhancing industry knowledge and competency, with trustees being a major target.”

The SMSF Association and the ATO also committed to work together to influence appropriate behaviour in the SMSF industry.

Slattery explained in practice this included developing the knowledge and competency of SMSF professionals and trustees, undertaking shared research and knowledge projects, actively seeking opportunities for joint communication, and improving efficiency in the dealings between the SMSF sector, the regulator and the government.

“The collaboration of the association and the ATO will ensure the delivery of high quality education and information services for SMSF trustees and the wider financial services sector,” she said.

“The support and commitment of the ATO to the SMSF sector will further enable us to implement our vision of allowing Australians to take greater control of their own retirement destiny through a sustainable SMSF community.”

ATO commissioner of taxation Chris Jordan said productive partnerships with industry bodies such as the SMSF Association were key to the ATO being a leading tax and superannuation administration.

“This is a clear example of the way we work collaboratively with industry to ensure community trust and confidence in the tax and super systems,” Jordan explained.

“The statement of intent formalises the strong foundation and is a commitment by the ATO and the association to deliver joint activities, which contribute to ensuring the integrity of the SMSF sector.”

He said the partnership would improve the regulator’s ability to manage compliance, support trustees, implement policy through shared work and information, increase efficiency, minimise regulatory intervention, and build on professionalism.

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