ATO prepares for member rise

six-member SMSFs

The ATO is preparing to accommodate the legislative change that will allow a maximum of six people to be members of an SMSF.

The ATO has revealed it is already in the process of preparing the internal changes needed to regulate six member SMSFs which would result from the passing of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Self Managed Superannuation Funds) Bill 2020 that was introduced to the federal upper house earlier this month.

Speaking at the 2020 SMSF Trustee Empowerment Day hosted this week by smstrusteenews, the sister publication of selfmanagedsuper, ATO SMSF segment acting assistant commissioner Stephen Keating said: “Now that the bill has been tabled before parliament, we are busy looking at the internal system changes that we need to make.

“If the law passes before the required system changes can be implemented, an interim process for SMSFs wanting to have more than four members will be developed and communicated prior to the start date of the new law.”

The earliest the bill can be passed is during the next parliamentary sitting sessions, which will occur in November and December. Should the bill receive royal assent during either of these sessions, the new law will come into effect from January 2021.

If the bill is not passed before Christmas, then the next available time it can receive royal assent will be anytime between January and March next year. If the bill is passed at this time, the new law will be effective from 1 April 2021.

Keating also pointed out trustees and their advisers should be mindful of the impact state and territory laws might have on any SMSFs looking to incorporate the six member changes.

“Be aware some state and territory laws restrict the number of individual trustees to less than six. Therefore it is important to check if your state or territory law has these restrictions on the number of trustees,” he warned.

However, he noted there is a solution that can eliminate this issue.

“A corporate trustee avoids this issue completely,” he advised.

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