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‘What if’ SMSF scenarios not yet canvassed

Mouse trap.

Unique SMSF scenarios are beginning emerge with no guidance available to advisers or trustees.

Many unique SMSF scenarios are beginning to crop up with many more expected to emerge, however no clarification or guidance has been provided to advisers or trustees for these new situations, according to an SMSF industry body.

“We’ve moved from curiosity and fear around how these new super rules will possibly work to frustration now about trying to understand the implementation and practical implications [demonstrated] by the myriad of ‘what if’ scenarios that advisers and clients are coming up with,” Self-managed Independent Superannuation Funds Association (SISFA) managing director Mike Goodall told selfmanagedsuper.

“And there are still many situations yet to be canvassed and thought through.”

Goodall revealed SISFA has been working closely with the ATO to develop education seminars for trustees to help them deal with the complex super changes.

“We’re working with [ATO SMSF segment assistant commissioner] Kasey Macfarlane and her team on the content for that, and we’re getting feedback on how this might work because it’s sorely needed,” he said.

“I’m sure they’re dealing with a deluge of enquiries around the practical application of these rules, and many trustees are coming forward with ‘what if’ scenarios to their advisers.

“The fear that we have, as we expressed last year, is for those trustees who feel more independent and don’t necessarily seek the counsel of a professional adviser, how do these people know how to apply or tackle these ‘what if’ scenarios when they face them?

“In fact, some of them won’t even know it’s an issue until it’s too late.”

SISFA hopes to seek clarification from the regulator on its leniency for SMSF trustees who inadvertently don’t comply with the requirements, Goodall said.

“While the ATO has said it will be quite patient and lenient to trustees, how far will that go?” he said.

“I think it’s a question that the regulator needs to express to the market.

“Traditionally, regulators have given a grace period in order for people to comply but there are roughly 560,000 SMSFs out there – are they all going to get across these rules and actually be informed and be compliant?

“So where does that grace period stop, and if there is a grace period what will be the treatment of people in the future?”

Goodall’s comments come ahead of the upcoming SISFA SMSF Forum where SMSF adviser issues such as this will be discussed in detail.

The forum will be held on 9 October in Melbourne. More information can be found here.

Macfarlane will be presenting at the forum and will outline how the regulator will practically apply the new super rules, as well as sharing the ATO’s views on how it believes SMSF trustees will deal with and manage their reporting requirements.

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