ATO releases SMSF registration figures

In the 2017/18 income year, there were 26,000 SMSF registrations with around 2100 of these the subject of further review, according to the ATO.

ATO SMSF segment acting assistant commissioner Tara McLachlan told the recent SMSF Association Technical Day Series in Sydney that 29 per cent or 621 SMSFs had their Australian business number cancelled, while 16 per cent, or 336 SMSFs, had their details withheld from the Super Fund Lookup (SFLU), the public register of super funds maintained by the tax office.

McLachlan said SMSF professionals play a vital role in the registration process of an SMSF.

“Specifically we suggest advisers review their clients’ tax, debt and lodgement history and make sure they have a clean bill of compliance health before they seek to register an SMSF on behalf of the client,” she said.

“It’s important to remember that tax agents should not use their own agency’s bank account when registering the SMSF. The SMSF must hold its own bank account for super purposes.”

The ATO will update the SMSF’s status on SFLU with “registration details withheld” if it still has concerns at the end of the review process about a fund seeking to be registered with the tax office.

McLachlan also said the ability for SuperStream to include rollovers to and from SMSFs is an important opportunity for new and established SMSFs to consider their digital capability and how they are preparing for it.

“The ability of businesses, funds and government agencies to interact digitally is becoming an increasing focus as the work in SuperStream demonstrates,” she noted.

“There’s a lot of exciting work being done in this space to automate and streamline record-keeping and reporting process which can deliver cost savings, as well as heighten visibility and insight into the SMSF’s operations.”

The ATO is working with the industry on design and implementation after the federal government announced the extension of SuperStream to include rollovers to and from SMSFs earlier this year, with expectations for it to start in late 2019.

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