Unique SMSF bank account necessary

ATO SMSF bank account

The ATO has advised a unique bank account be used to conduct SMSF operations and for trustees to be aware of possible fraud where a third party was given access.

The ATO has advised SMSF trustees should open a unique bank account in order to manage the operations of their funds and that those accounts are recorded correctly with the regulator.

In a website update, the ATO encouraged the use of a separate bank account for SMSF operations, such as accepting contributions, superannuation rollovers and income sourced from investments and super benefits.

“If your SMSF does not have a unique bank account, then your members’ retirement benefits may not be protected,” it said on its website.

“You don’t have to open a separate bank account for each member, but you must keep a separate record of their entitlement or ‘member account’.”

The ATO noted SMSF trustees also need to ensure the fund’s bank account was separate from the individual trustees’ bank accounts, any other related employers’ bank accounts and that of their tax agent.

“A unique bank account is one not used by any other entity or individual. For example, your tax agent’s account for receiving tax refunds is not unique,” it said.

Additionally, it warned trustees should consider the increased risks of fraud associated with the appointment of third-party authorities to a fund’s account, including unauthorised withdrawals being made from the account or other transactions being made without consent.

“As a trustee, you also need to check that only people you have authorised are listed as third-party authorities and signatories on your SMSF’s bank account,” it said.

“If you suspect a third party has been added as a signatory to your SMSF accounts without your authority or you are suspicious of account transactions made by a third party, report this to your bank immediately.”

Trustees can notify the ATO of a fund’s bank account details or updates through a registered agent, online services for business, by telephone or when lodging an SMSF annual return.

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