ATO extension allows flexibility: SMSFA

The SMSF Association has welcomed the ATO’s decision to extend the lodgement date for SMSF annual returns in light of the superannuation legislation changes and compliance points funds need to get through before 1 July.

SMSF annual returns for 2015/16 will be due on 30 June 2017.

SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney said the industry body and SMSF specialist advisers provided feedback to the tax office about the extra compliance work created by the 1 July changes.

The extension of the deadline demonstrated the ATO recognised the legitimacy of the challenges, Maroney said.

“We welcome this flexible approach being taken by the ATO,” he noted.

“It is a pressing time for accountants, tax agents and SMSF specialist advisers due to the complexity of the changes taking effect on 1 July, and the ATO’s decision acknowledges this.

“This extension will give advisers, who have the onerous responsibility of helping trustees comply with the current legislation, the time to plan, prepare and advise their clients about the upcoming changes during this crucial transition period.”

He said the extra time would also allow trustees to make well-informed decisions instead of hasty ones.

ATO deputy commissioner James O’Halloran said the tax office made the decision as a result of feedback from professional and industry representatives.

“We have heard that many accounting and advisory firms are stretched to meet their usual annual SMSF lodgement commitments, in addition to providing advice to their clients about the super changes taking effect on 1 July,” O’Halloran said.

“Accountants, tax agents and SMSF advisers play a key role in ensuring that their SMSF clients are ready for the changes on 1 July – they will ensure their clients are in the best position to make informed decisions about their super savings in the light of the changes.

“Recognising this is a crucial transition period for the SMSF sector as we head towards the most significant super reforms for several years, we have extended the lodgement due date for 2015/16 SMSF annual returns.”

He added the ATO had taken the step to ease the compliance burden so accountants, tax agents and SMSF advisers could focus on providing appropriate advisory services to their SMSF clients ahead of 1 July.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the ongoing support tax professionals and SMSF advisers provide, especially at this important time for the sector and the broader super industry,” he noted.

In February, the SMSF Association and ATO announced a three-year strategic partnership with the goal of working together to ensure efficient regulation and improved integrity in the SMSF sector.

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