SMSF audit announcement welcomed

SMSF audit cycle

The elimination of any policy consideration to change the yearly SMSF audit cycle confirmed in the October federal budget has been welcomed.

The definitive rejection of the proposal to change the SMSF audit cycle in the Albanese government’s initial budget has been lauded as a very reassuring development by a senior executive of a prominent industry body.

The federal budget papers confirmed the 2018/19 budget measure that proposed changing the annual audit requirement for certain SMSFs has been reviewed and will not be pursued.

“It was pleasing to see that whole three-year audit piece is officially gone,” SMSF Association policy manager Tracey Scotchbrook told selfmanagedsuper.

“A few of our audit members have had concerns about it because we had that pronouncement, but it was never officially removed from the policy agenda. But we’ve got that confirmation tonight and that provides certainty for the auditors.

“The [coalition] government’s intention around that was trying to alleviate the costs for SMSF trustees, but it wouldn’t have delivered that outcome in reality, so it’s pleasing to see that gone.”

Scotchbrook admitted its inclusion in the budget was a surprise, but revealed the measure did continue to have a presence in the background and was an issue people would ask about from time to time.

She identified the budget item confirming a boost in funding for the Tax Practitioners Board as a further positive development for the sector.

“The Tax Practitioners Board has received a boost in funding to allow it to have a greater ability to review and increase their compliance investigations into high-risk tax practitioners,” she said.

“From our perspective we’ve had those recent cases of tax agents lodging returns where audits haven’t been conducted and any funding to deal with any illegal or unlawful tax advice and those engaging in poor advice is pleasing to see.”

Further, she welcomed the fact the budget has relatively minor implications for SMSFs.

“It was a quiet night for SMSFs, which is good because creating certainty in the sector is important,” she said.

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