Administration, ATO

SMSFA wants better data access


The SMSF Association is pushing for ATO data to be made available to a greater number of practitioners.

The SMSF Association in its 2020/21 budget submission has called for ATO data to be made accessible to a greater number of practitioners for better and more efficient fund management.

Currently information regarding an individual’s transfer balance cap (TBC) and total super balance (TSB) stored on the ATO database can only be accessed by registered tax agents, mainly accountants, via the regulator’s online portal.

“Ironically, these individuals are generally not able to provide SMSF advice as they are not licensed with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission). Incongruously, those licensed advisers who can provide SMSF advice, such as financial advisers, have no reasonable way of sourcing ATO portal information directly from the ATO as they are not, generally, the member’s personal tax agent,” SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney said.

Maroney argued the current situation means practitioners who can provide licensed financial advice about complex issues such as TSB, TBC and other related issues are unable to receive the information they need to do so.

“The move to open data and increased access to the ATO portal is an essential next step for the $750 billion SMSF industry and the only means by which the sector can institute commercially viable operational surveillance to the standard the ATO rightly requires, and we encourage the government to make this an ATO priority project,” he said.

The industry body has also made a recommendation to abolish limited licensing in favour of a new licensing framework to allow consumers better and more cost-effective access to simple SMSF advice in its budget submission.

The association further criticised the limited licensing regime, claiming it had not achieved the desired policy outcomes.

“Individuals have unmet needs, advisers face high regulatory costs and accountants are strangled by regulation,” Maroney said.

“What we’re proposing is a new consumer-centric advice framework with improved SMSF advice a critical element of this project.

“Accordingly, we encourage government to address the regulatory framework by transitioning the defunct limited licence to a new consumer-centric framework that raises advice standards and rectifies the advice gap to allow appropriately qualified SMSF advisers to provide low-cost, simple advice.”

It was confirmed late last year the SMSF Association was in discussions with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants to formulate a new licensing framework that would be suitable for all practitioners wanting to provide financial advice.

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