Regulation, Superannuation, Tax

Super policies still causing confusion after poll

SMSF advisers should be speaking with their clients about which superannuation and retirement policies will be implemented after the recent federal election, with some still confused as to what was proposed by each party, according to an SMSF expert with Deloitte Private.

Addressing the Chartered Accountants SMSF Day 2019 in Sydney today, Deloitte Private national SMSF leader Liz Westover said both major parties made a range of announcements, but actions by consumers ahead of the election showed some considered them as already in place.

“The main reason why I bring this up is because you will have clients who will not understand what did and did not get through,” Westover said.

“We had so many announcements and so many policies that it is very confusing as to who owned what policy.

“I think it is very important to communicate with your clients as to what did not get through and what is not going to happen, particularly around some of the thresholds.”

She highlighted the level of interest in refundable franking credits and said her firm had clients who were looking to act on that before the election, and she had since heard of people who did act and began to sell down their share holdings.

“Make sure clients are aware of what did not get across the line and what they can rest easy on,” she said, highlighting that some policies proposed by the government prior to the election, and also within the 2019 budget, are likely to return to parliament.

The government promised it would not introduce any new super taxes, but having been in office for a few years, had already done so, including the widespread changes that came into effect in 2017, she noted.

“What they have said is prior parliament’s legislation that did not pass but had been introduced, that is when parliament was prorogued and what did not make it through, they are going to bring it back and try to push through,” she said.

Of these past measures, she said it was likely the application of non-arm’s-length income to expenses, the inclusion of limited recourse borrowing arrangements in the total superannuation balance and the superannuation guarantee (SG) opt-out were likely to pass through parliament.

Conversely, the three-year audit cycle and the SG amnesty were unlikely to be reintroduced and she was uncertain about whether the increase of SMSF members to six would return to parliament, describing it as a measure no one had asked for and thus likely to not be high on the agenda for the government.

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