Members with a transition-to-retirement income stream (TRIS) might be able to access super funds under coronavirus early access arrangements if their TRIS is made up of preserved or restricted non-preserved benefits, the ATO has said.
In an update on its website providing information to funds on the design and implementation for the COVID-19 early release of superannuation package, the ATO noted the relief measure might be accessible to members with a TRIS if it consisted of preserved or restricted non-preserved benefits and if the rules of the fund and pension allowed the member to commute the TRIS back to accumulation phase within the fund.
“The recent amendments to allow early access to super under the coronavirus early access arrangements do not vary the circumstances in which pension payments may be made from a TRIS, or the circumstances in which an amount commuted from a TRIS can be cashed out of the superannuation fund. Hence, no amounts in excess of what are already allowed to be cashed from a TRIS can be released under the coronavirus early access arrangements,” the regulator stated.
“However, a member whose TRIS comprises preserved or restricted non-preserved benefits may be able to commute the TRIS back to the accumulation phase within the superannuation fund (in accordance with the rules of the fund and the pension). In this case, the preserved and restricted non-preserved amounts may then be eligible to be released under the coronavirus early access arrangements.”
The ATO last month released details of how SMSF members would be able to access their superannuation funds under the federal government’s early release provisions.
In a related update on its website, the regulator also addressed compliance concerns of members unable to return to Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic and unable to meet the usual residency conditions to ensure their SMSF remained compliant.
“If the individual trustees of an SMSF or directors of its corporate trustee are stranded overseas due to COVID-19, in the absence of any other changes in the SMSF or the trustees’ circumstances affecting the other conditions, we will not apply compliance resources to determine whether the SMSF meets the relevant residency conditions,” it said.