ATO, Superannuation

ATO issues SMSF early release details

SMSF early release

SMSF members have given details on how to gain early release to their funds under coronavirus relief provisions, with the ATO urging caution for trustees.

The ATO has released details of how members of an SMSF will be able to access their superannuation funds under the early release provisions announced as part of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an update published on its website today, the regulator outlined the process that could be used by SMSF members to access the $10,000 in the current and next financial year, and confirmed with selfmanagedsuper the process was very similar to that being used for Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)-regulated funds.

To apply for early release, members of APRA funds and SMSFs must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • they are unemployed,
  • they are eligible to receive a jobseeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, special benefit or farm household allowance, and/or
  • on or after 1 January 2020, either
    • they were made redundant,
    • their working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more, or
    • if they are a sole trader, their business was suspended or there was a reduction in their turnover of 20 per cent or more.

Members of both types of funds will need to apply to the ATO, via the myGov web portal, for early release. The regulator will process applications and determine eligibility for release.

For members in an APRA fund who are deemed eligible, their relevant superannuation fund will be notified and then make any payments to the member, while for SMSFs the member will be issued with the determination and will be required to pass that onto their fund before any payments can be made.

The ATO highlighted the trustees of an SMSF carried the responsibility for any early release and in its comments noted the trustee and member could be the same person.

“As an SMSF trustee, you are responsible for your and your members’ retirement savings. Please make sure you are eligible for early release of super before you release any funds from your SMSF,” it said.

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