ATO, Pensions

ATO extends commutation assistance service

ATO commutation assistance

The ATO has extended the time for trustees issued with a commutation authority to make direct contact and seek assistance with any problems.

The ATO has extended the time in which SMSF trustees and their advisers will be able to make direct contact to seek assistance where the fund has been issued with a commutation authority.

The regulator created a dedicated email service as part of its COVID-19-related support in May and at the time stated assistance would be supplied until 31 August.

In an update released on its website, it stated the service had been extended by three months to 30 November.

As part of the update, it noted common errors that could lead to a commutation authority being issued include duplicate reporting because an SMSF has not properly identified or recorded an event that had been reported, or because of a change in reporting platforms or administration systems leading to re-reported events, or not checking which events trustees or tax agents may have already reported to the ATO.

Another common error was an SMSF not reporting any commutations that had occurred when a member rolled over a pension interest to another fund.

For those seeking assistance, the ATO stated they should provide as much information as possible when making contact, including the name and Australian business number of the fund that received the commutation authority, when the authority was due, the member it relates to and any questions trustees may have.

It also repeated its past warning that the service did not replace an obligation to comply with, and report a response to, a commutation authority within 60 days and was only to provide information to assist SMSFs in meeting their obligations.

Additionally, it noted: “This service is not available to assist individuals who have exceeded their transfer balance cap and have been sent an excess transfer balance determination.”

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