Non-lodgers in ATO sights

The ATO is keeping close tabs on SMSFs who fail to lodge their annual returns.

With 40,000 SMSFs failing to meet their lodgement obligations, cracking down on non-lodgers remains a key activity for the ATO.

ATO SMSF segment assistant commissioner Dana Fleming told selfmanagedsuper SMSF non-lodgers currently represent around $15.6 billion in funds.

The ATO is monitoring those SMSFs that are still receiving funds, such as super guarantee contributions, but are failing to lodge their returns on time.

“We want to make sure people who have significant access in the funds are meeting their obligations,” Fleming said.

Last year, the ATO found nearly 49,000 persistent non-lodgers, with 22,000 of those bringing themselves up to date by either lodging their returns or exiting the system by June this year.

Reasons for exiting can include the members are older or they found they did not require an SMSF in the first place.

“There’s often a good reason that they’ve just forgotten in some cases to have lodged their return and forgotten they even had an SMSF in some instances,” Fleming said.

Members may wind up the fund and place the money back in an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority fund.

Fleming said the last program the ATO conducted on non-lodgers found members may have failed to follow lodgement obligations because they have forgotten they have a super fund.

Others might be in pension phase and while they do not have to pay tax, they may fail to realise they still have to continue lodging returns.

Others still might have changed tax agents.

“There’s a portion of them that we took some more serious action in relation to it and imposed penalties where they were not keeping up with their obligations as trustees,” Fleming said.

“In some cases we did disqualify the trustees because we didn’t feel they were meeting their responsibility as a trustee in terms of lodgements, which of course is a fundamental obligation of trustees.”

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